Pilot project to improve return to work outcomes
Testing has begun on an exciting new approach to manage workplace injury claims.
WorkCover Queensland and Monash University are looking to better identify workers who may be at risk from a delayed return to work after injury and provide them the right rehabilitation support.
Looking to help employers and insurers, as well as the injured worker, it is hoped the project will help achieve better claim and return to work outcomes.
WorkCover and Monash are gathering feedback throughout this pilot stage to monitor its effectiveness in improving the experience of injured workers and employers.
It is also hoped it will result in earlier referrals to providers to ensure a successful return to work.
Did you make it to the Injury Prevention and Return to Work Conference?
APM sponsored the event and conference topics included leadership and culture, creating a positive work environment, good work design and return on investment.
If you were not able to make it and would like to learn more about the topics discuss, Queensland State Manager, Ashlyn Dyer, would be happy to share insights and resources gained from the day.
New South Wales
Is your return to work program ready?
As an employer you know commitment to the health, safety and recovery of your team following an incident is vital to your business.
This means having an up to date Return to Work Program that meets the latest guidelines of the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).
All employers in New South Wales are required to have a formal policy that outlines general procedures for handling work related injury or illness.
And in New South Wales, there are two categories of employers under the workers’ compensation system with different laws.
Category 1 employers
- Defined as having a basic tariff premium greater than $50,000 per annum
- Self-insured, or insured by a specialised insurer
- More than 20 employees – additional responsibilities and obligations apply under the scheme
Category 1 employers are required to nominate an approved workplace rehabilitation provider and give their details.
They also need to:
- Appoint a return to work coordinator
- Develop a return to work program
- Consult workers and unions
- Implement the return to work program
All category 1 employers must meet these new requirements by 31 May 2019.
SIRA have developed a Return to Work Program Checklist to help you develop and review your return to work program, and ensure it is compliant with the requirements.
On behalf of SIRA, SafeWork NSW are running workshops across the state to assist NSW businesses with information regarding how to develop a return to work program in accordance with these guidelines.
Register for a workshop here.
Category 2 employers
- Any employer who is not a category 1 employer as described above
Creating a return to work program in the case of a category 2 employer involves three main activities:
- Appoint a person responsible for recovery at work
- Develop a return to work program
- Implement the return to work program
Category 2 employers are able to adopt or customise the standard return to work program template available on the SIRA website.
APM WorkCare is an approved workplace rehabilitation provider in all Australian states and territories.
We are happy to collaborate with you, should you like some assistance with developing a compliant return to work program, or if you would like to partner with APM WorkCare as your nominated workplace rehabilitation provider and have us assist you manage and prevent workplace injuries.
- Contact Carolyn Bell, NSW State Manager today at email@example.com
For any questions about setting up a return to work program for your team, contact APM WorkCare on 1300 976 522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Australian Capital Territory
Strategy to enhance ACT’s health data
A three-year program is underway in the ACT to use more data and health information to improve the region’s healthcare.
As part of the System-Wide Data Review, a data strategy is to be implemented over the next three years to support best practice performance, quality and continuous improvement of patient outcomes.
By looking at key themes including the management, security and communication of health data, the review intends to provide more relevant health care and benefit patients, clinicians, workforces, researchers and training services.
A key priority raised as the review’s final report was presented to the ACT Legislative Assembly in August, will be able to identify, report on and access relevant health information online.
The System-Wide Data Review was launched in 2017 following ACT Health being unable to provide data on emergency departments, elective surgery waiting time and mental health.
Recommendations from the review also include supporting healthcare staff to collect and maintain the data they collect, better respond to changes in business requirements and data systems and develop user-friendly documents to collect data and ensure its accuracy.
Victoria employers eager for workplace wellness
At APM we know from our August seminar Creating a Mentally Healthy Workplace the huge appetite in Victoria (and beyond) for practical information, tools and resources to assist in workplace wellness.
WorkSafe Victoria recently launched an initiative to provide employers like you with more support and resources to help in this journey.
WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Fund & Toolkit
Together with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the new Victorian WorkSafe WorkWell program aims to make mental health and wellbeing a priority in the workplace by supporting programs and initiatives to improve mental health and wellbeing for vulnerable workers.
The aim is to promote mental health and wellbeing and prevent mental health conditions and illness by changing workplace cultures and practices via industry-wide and long term change.
The WorkWell toolkit is an online tool linking small to medium businesses with research, tools and information to support building a mentally healthy workplace.
It’s designed for business owners, people leaders, human resources and occupational health and safety professionals.
To get started, answer just a few questions about your organisation.
This information is used to suggest tailored actions and resources that have helped other businesses create healthier, positive workplaces: workwell.vic.gov.au/toolkit.
WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Fund
Five organisations looking to make a difference to the mental health of Victorian workers received funding to develop programs in round one of WorkSafe’s WorkWell initiative.
Grants totalling more than $3.3 million will go towards programs that address the mental health and wellbeing of shift workers, call centre employees, arts and entertainment industry employees, young workers and those who are expectant or new parents.
Round Two applications are now closed, with round three expected to open in March 2019.
For more information or to register your interest, you can go to: workwell.vic.gov.au/fund.
Industry snapshots launched
Industry groups across Tasmania are sharing their health and safety performances to improve workplaces across the region.
The Industry Overview reports by WorkSafe Tasmania include posters and aim to identify and focus on emerging or existing work health and safety issues, for evaluation and action.
They compare most current work health and safety performance relative to previous years and, where applicable, to other industries across Tasmania.
Performance data, trends and areas of focus for specific industries can be accessed via the WorkSafe Tasmania website: worksafe.tas.gov.au.
PTSD law change under review
A review as to whether the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 should be amended to include presumptive provisions for certain workers in relation to post-traumatic stress disorder has been undertaken.
Mr Stephen Carey, former Chief Commissioner of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Tribunal, led the review, with the assistance of Dr Jacqueline Triffitt, a Clinical Psychologist.
The Ministerial Review relating to establishing entitlements under the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 for Workers Suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was tabled in Parliament on 25 September 2018 and can be found on the Department of Justice website.
11 things to know from Return To Work SA’s annual report
Bosses are celebrating record high return to work rates and top investment results thanks to South Australia’s return to work scheme.
Return To Work SA Chairman Joanne Denley has praised the service results released in this year’s annual report.
“With Scheme return to work rates at record highs, a positive net asset position and favourable investment returns the Board has been able to support the State Government’s objective of reducing the cost of doing business in South Australia by lowering premium rates,” she said.
Key stats from the report for 2017/18 include:
- 90% of claims received were determined within 10 days of business receipt.
- 97% of workers were reimbursed with 14 days of Return To Work SA receiving their receipts.
- 99% of employer wage expenses were reimbursed within the 30 day terms.
- 99% of medical and allied health services for injured workers billed directly to Claims Agents were paid within 30-day trading terms.
- Claims agents and ReturnToWorkSA have 93 mobile staff.
- Workers at work at key intervals after injury have improved year on year.
- $521m in premium revenue was collected from registered businesses.
- A total comprehensive profit of $26.7m was reported.
- New scheme claim disputes registered at the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) have reduced by 30%.
- 37 premium disputes received in 2017/18 down from 43 last year.
- Complaints received are reduced by 75% in 2017/18.
Could your workplace benefit from a companion dog?
South Australia is also demonstrating initiatives in creating mentally healthy workplaces with the use of companion dogs on Australian Defence Force bases
Murray the Labrador was enlisted as a Gunner in the Royal Australian Artillery, posted with the 16th Air Land Regiment based at Woodside.
Bombardier Murray is a trained assistance dog who is able to recognise and respond to heightened anxiety, depression and night terrors in his companions.
Access to Murray is not restricted, he sleeps in the guard room at night and accompanies his colleagues to Physical Training each morning and then stays with them during their daily activities.
Being able to take Murray for a walk, or an off leash run in the hills is already assisting with wellbeing in the Regiment and there is no shortage of companions to keep Murray company.
WorkCover WA set goals for the next three years
The WorkCover WA Board has approved the agency’s 2018-21 Strategic Plan.
The Plan will guide the Agency over the next three years in leading a responsive and sustainable workers’ compensation scheme, modernising the delivery of its services and building on the capability of its people, culture and systems.
The Strategic Goals for WorkCover WA are:
- Strategic Scheme Management
- Digital Transformation
- Building on the capability of their People, Culture & Systems
The focus areas for WorkCover WA include:
Strategic scheme leadership and management
Aligning scheme operations with a new workers’ compensation Act, continuously improving scheme services through advice, collaboration and support, and responding to trends using business intelligence.
WorkCover WA intend to implement online services for conciliation, arbitration and settlements as well as innovative approaches to dispute resolution whilst continuing to deliver effective and timely dispute resolution services.
The wish is to enhance statutory compliance through targeted regulation; introduce contemporary investigation and regulatory approaches and promote awareness of workers’ compensation and injury management.
This focus area aims to achieve efficiencies through customer focused technology and innovation; increase digital capability of staff through training and development; and improve staff capability and mobility.
A copy of the Strategic Plan 2018-21 can be found here.
Human face important in insurance
The Annual Northern Territory Insurance Conference (NTIC) was held at the Darwin Convention Centre in October.
The focus this year shifted from technology, to the human face of insurance.
Organised by the Young Insurance Professions Northern Territory, the NTIC provided industry professionals practicing in the Northern Territory the opportunity to contribute to the sustainability of the insurance sector, as well as undertake professional development at the highest-level right in Darwin.
For further information about the Northern Territory Insurance Conference please contact Kaye Gwyther on 0427 389 213 or email@example.com.