Building towards active recovery after injury

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While injury claims in the construction industry have fallen, the costs of claims is rising, which may be reflected in increased premium rates, according to WorkCover Queensland.

WorkCover Queensland data shows, in construction, over 8,720 workers’ compensation claims were received in 2014-15 financial year, a reduction of 4.6% from 2013-14.

However, compensation payments were up 9% to over $119 million.

But, while the average days off work dropped to 41 days – which is a good result – unfortunately the percentage of workers who stayed at work fell to 52%. This means that more workers are taking time off work, rather than staying at work on suitable alternative duties.

Industry Manager, Construction, Melanie Stojanovic said the most effective way for employers to support their workers to recover at work, was to identify suitable alternative duties that could be done during a period of rehabilitation.

This also helps keep the worker connected to their workplace, which in turn can help their return to work outcome be more positive.

“We know that ‘doing promotes recovery’ and part of the approach to encourage active recovery is to encourage workers to stay at work while they recover. The aim is a sustainable return to work, and it’s important that a workers’ contribution to the workplace is meaningful.

 “Employers should offer suitable alternative duties, if the worker is not able to go back to their previous tasks during rehabilitation. If suitable alternative duties aren’t an option at the original workplace, we can find a host employer through our Recover at Work (R@W) program, to allow the worker to do some type of work during their recovery,” Melanie said.

“Ultimately the longer a worker is off work, the more their claim costs rise, and this can be reflected in rising premiums, which understandably, employers want to avoid,” she said.

“The best defence is a safe workplace. However, if accidents do happen, encourage recovery while at work, perhaps on suitable duties, or an early return to work.”

For more information, contact WorkCover Queensland on 1300 362 128 or visit our website www.worksafe.qld.gov.au.

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