Certificate of Capacity
On this page
- Introduction to the Certificate of Capacity
- Description of the types of certificate
- Your role as a certifier
- Useful definitions
- Assessing capacity for patients with a psychological condition
Certificates of Capacity are used by WorkSafe Agents and employers to determine a worker's capacity for work and the nature of their injury. It provides information about the date that the injured worker will have a capacity for pre-injury employment, suitable employment, or no capacity for employment.
Certificates can be issued by a medical practitioner, physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath. This video demonstrates how to complete the Certificate of Capacity.
The Certificate of Capacity is a communication tool for the treating health practitioner, worker and employer. It provides employers with the information they require to appropriately and safely plan their worker's return to work. Find a certificate of capacity software vendor.
You may be contacted by the employer, their appointed Return to Work Coordinator, occupational rehabilitation provider, or the WorkSafe Agent to coordinate your patient's successful return to work. As the treating health practitioner, you can call an employer to find out more about the worker's employment and any suitable employment options that may be available if you have not heard from the worker's employer.
Types of certificates
First Certificate of Capacity
Only a medical practitioner can issue the first Certificate of Capacity. It can be valid for a maximum of 14 days off work unless there are special reasons provided on the certificate, such as where the worker has a severe injury or illness.
Subsequent Certificate of Capacity
A medical practitioner, physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath can sign a subsequent Certificate of Capacity. It can be valid for a maximum of 28 days unless the WorkSafe agent is satisfied that there are special reasons for the certificate to cover a longer period.
Victorian workers compensation legislation provides that a subsequent Certificate of Capacity can only be issued by a:
- Medical practitioner
No other healthcare providers can issue a Certificate of Capacity at any time.
An attendance only certificate can be issued to confirm attendance for treatment with a medical practitioner, physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath.
The certifier's role
The best outcome for the worker is to return to normal life as soon as possible. A Certificate of Capacity provides critical information about the worker's injury, illness, capacity and limitations.
The information you include in the Certificate of Capacity will allow an employer to plan suitable return to work (RTW) arrangements for the injured worker and provide them with valuable information about what they can do once they are back at work.
The role of the certifier is to:
- Provide information about the worker's injury or condition.
- Provide a medical opinion on the worker's current capacity and limitations based on the work-related injury or condition.
- Revise the certificate as the injury, condition or capacity changes.
- Assess and certify the capacity of the worker, regardless of whether suitable employment is available.
- Discuss returning to work with the worker from the first consultation and set realistic expectations with the worker about RTW timelines.
- Review any proposed RTW arrangements from the employer to ensure that the proposed duties fit within the capacity you have certified.
The capacity assessment section of the Certificate of Capacity is used to identify how the worker's injury or condition has affected their functional capacity. The information you provide will be central to planning for a return to safe and sustainable work.
The capacity assessment provides physical and/or mental health function information. Certifiers should select applicable fields in the following areas:
Certifying for mental injury
Pre-injury employment is the same activities and hours performed before the worker was injured.
Suitable employment is employment with modifications to a worker's pre-injury employment to allow them to return to work. It can also refer to different duties to those performed before the injury or illness. Suitable employment is sometimes referred to as modified or alternative duties depending on the nature of the modifications.
Suitable employment may or may not be available, but this should not influence your assessment of the worker's functional capacity. There are support services that may be available for injured workers to assist with returning to work in suitable employment.