Certificates Of Capacity
Certificates of Capacity are used by WorkSafe Agents and employers to determine the worker’s capacity for work and the nature of their injury. Certificates can be issued by a medical practitioner, physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath.
For an injured worker to receive loss of income compensation they must have a Certificate of Capacity.
By completing each Certificate of Capacity correctly, you can help reduce the incidence, severity and cost to the community of work-related injury and illness and facilitate better outcomes for injured workers.
Types of certificates
Certificate of Capacity
The first Certificate of Capacity issued can only be signed by a medical practitioner and can only be issued for 14 days or less off work, unless there are special reasons (e.g. where the injured worker has a severe injury or illness) which must be stated in the comments section of the certificate. For new weekly benefits claims, the first Certificate of Capacity should be included with the Worker's Injury Claim Form.
Any subsequent Certificate of Capacity may be signed by one of the healthcare providers listed in the Accident Compensation Act 1985. Subsequent certificates can only be issued for a maximum of 28 days, unless there are special reasons that have been approved by the WorkSafe Agent managing the injured worker’s claim.
An Attendance Certificate is issued when the injured worker is back at work and the employer requires proof of the worker's attendance at a medical examination or for treatment. It is only necessary for the healthcare provider to sign the certificate, provide their name and address, as well as the patient's name and date of examination.
Who can issue certificates
Only the professions listed in the Accident Compensation Act 1985 can issue a Certificate of Capacity (after a medical practitioner has issued the first certificate). Currently on that list are:
- Medical practitioners
No other healthcare providers are able to issue a Certificate of Capacity at any time.
The medical practitioner’s role
The best outcome for your patient is to get them back to their normal lives and routines as soon as possible. Your role provides critical information about the worker’s injury, illness, capacity and restrictions.
The information you provide will allow employers to plan suitable return to work for the injured worker, and provide your patient with valuable information about what they can do once they are back at work.
Supporting return to work
The Certificate of Capacity provides information about the date from which the injured worker will be fit for normal, modified or alternative duties, or whether the worker is unfit for any work.
This means the injured worker is capable of returning to work and undertaking the same activities and hours of work as before their injury or illness occurred.
This refers to any changes or restrictions that should be applied to an injured worker's pre-injury activities to allow them to return to work.
These are duties different from those performed by the injured worker prior to the injury or illness.
Based on your diagnosis, you may be able to suggest one of the above options with some potential restrictions. This will enable the injured worker to return to work and assist in their recovery and rehabilitation. Healthcare providers need to indicate any restrictions or activities that an injured worker is unable to or should be encouraged to perform. Common examples of restrictions include:
- No prolonged sitting or standing
- No repetitive bending or lifting
- Using right/left hand predominantly
- No contact with oils, solvents or other chemicals
- Maximum weight for lifting or handling
- Avoid repetitive use of affected body part
- Frequent rotation of job tasks
- Keep hand below waist/shoulder level
- Keep wound dry/clean/covered
- Avoid squatting/kneeling/ladders/steps
These restrictions can then be included in the injured worker’s return to work plan and will support the injured worker to stay at or return to work safely.
A key element in successful return to work is good communication.
Employers are required to consult with injured workers and their treating healthcare providers to support return to work. It is important to share your medical expertise and opinion with the employer’s knowledge of your patient’s work duties. Employers may contact you in an effort to work toward successful return to work outcomes.
If you have not heard from your patient’s employer, as the injured worker’s treating healthcare provider you can call an employer to find out more about the worker’s employment and any suitable employment options that may be available for the worker.
The Return to Work Coordinator at the injured worker’s employer is the best person to talk to.