WorkSafe’s Danielle Jacobs joined Orbost construction worker, David Smooker at the Gippsland launch of the Return to Work, Return to Life campaign.
Sixty-four year old David Smooker, who works for Orbost Civil and Civic, returned to work late last year after undergoing major back surgery resulting from a workplace injury two years ago.
Ms Jacobs said, “It’s great that David has joined WorkSafe’s campaign to share his experience about how getting back to work, with the support or his employer, has been an important part of his recovery process.”
The state-wide Return to Work, Return to Life campaign was launched in Melbourne by Victoria’s Assistant Treasurer and Minister for WorkSafe, Gordon Rich-Phillips.
Mr Rich-Phillips said around 3000 experienced andskilled Victorians a year were out of the workforce for more than six months due to a workplace injury.
“The good news is that most injured people get back to work much sooner than that.”
“In fact, most workers only need a few weeks off, but the medical evidence is that the longer someone is off work, the greater the chance they will suffer adverse health effects like depression or a general decline in health,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
International studies show that the longer someone is off work, the greater the health risks they face.
The WorkSafe campaign comes after a recent Newspoll survey found 71% of Victorians believed injured workers would benefit from returning to work before they were fully recovered but to different duties.
More than 78% believed returning to work would help speed up the recovery process.
In the East Gippsland Shire over the past five financial years (to 2009/10), more than 1000 injuries were reported to WorkSafe with treatment and rehabilitation costs for these workers - paid for through their employer’s workplace injury insurance – exceeding $22.4m.
Minister Rich-Phillips said getting injured workers back to work as soon as safely possible was good for all Victorians.
“A successful return to work does not have to be full-time or the old job initially. There may be opportunities elsewhere in the business or modified duties or further training.”
“It helps improve the worker’s physical and mental health and also helps employers and the economy by keeping claim costs low,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
The WorkSafe public awareness campaign includes a television commercial, radio and billboard advertising and a toolkit for employers that can be downloaded from WorkSafe’s “Return to Work” website.
As part of the campaign, businesses in the Gippsland region are invited to submit their successful comeback stories in this year’s WorkSafe Awards.
For more information about WorkSafe’s “Return to Work, Return to Life” campaign, visit www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/returningtowork
Other findings of the Newspoll survey:
- 96% said families played an important role in helping return to work
- 93% said doctors and physiotherapists also played an important role
- 68% agreed that returning to work but performing different duties would definitely provide an increased feeling of self-worth
- 78% of people surveyed felt returning to work but performing different duties would help speed up the recovery process
Award winner to present at return to work forumNews
20 Mar 2012
South Eastern employers urged to learn more about return to workNews
15 Nov 2011
Returning to work made easier for injured workersNews
23 Aug 2011
Klim says make a comeback after injuryNews
21 Jul 2011
Treatment professionals should focus on potential not limitationNews
02 Sep 2011
2011 WorkSafe Awards winnersNews
20 Oct 2011
Employers can help injured people back to workNews
24 Jun 2011
Peer support helps injured people back to workNews
10 Feb 2011
A WISE choice for businessNews
08 Dec 2010
Fitness club fined for failing injured workerNews
22 Nov 2012
Record safety performance delivers solid resultNews
20 Sep 2013
Employees honoured for outstanding workNews
22 Nov 2013
WorkSafe Victoria announces positive half-yearly resultsNews
17 Apr 2014
Workshops highlight simpler workers compensation lawsNews
10 Jun 2014
Farm injuries at a new low, but safety remains a priorityNews
16 Jul 2014
WorkSafe announces new safety record in half-year resultsNews
27 Mar 2015
New graduates join inspector ranksNews
08 May 2015
Border inspections targeting unsafe construction workNews
18 May 2015
Teamwork the medicine that helps injured workers backNews
01 Jun 2015