Released as part of WorkSafe’s ‘Return to Work, Return to Life’ campaign, the employers’ toolkit has templates, checklists and forms that can be customised to suit their needs.

The kit can be downloaded from WorkSafe’s ‘Return to Work’ website:

WorkSafe’s Return to Work Director, Dorothy Frost said the toolkit would be particularly useful in small to medium sized businesses and to those that don’t have a lot of experience with workplace injury insurance claims.

"It's very important employers understand and comply with their return to work obligations. This toolkit provides everything they need to know," she said.

Around 28,000 Victorian workers are seriously hurt each year. Of that number more than 3,000 do not return to work within six months of being injured.

In the past five years, nearly 150,000 Victorians have lodged compensation claims with WorkSafe, totalling more than $2.7 billion in treatment and rehabilitation costs.

“Obviously prevention is the best cure and more needs to be done to ensure as many of these injuries don’t happen, but for those workers who are injured on the job, getting back to work sooner is good for them and it’s good for business,” Ms Frost said.

“An early return to work reduces claim costs and keeps the cost of a business’s injury insurance premium down.”

Medical evidence shows the longer someone is off work, the harder it is for them to return and the greater the chance they will suffer adverse health effects.

“The implications for these workers, their families, employers and their communities are significant,” Ms Frost said.

“It’s important injured workers are given the best possible chance of getting back into the workplace.”

“A successful return to work does not have to mean going straight back into full time work or the initial position that was originally held – it can be a gradual return, or a return to modified duties or even undertaking further training at work while the worker recovers.”

A recent Newspoll survey found 71% of Victorians believe injured workers would benefit from returning to work before being fully recovered and more than 78% believe that by returning to work it would help speed up the recovery process.

In an initiative to encourage a progressive and proactive approach to helping injured workers return, WorkSafe is calling on businesses to submit their successful comeback stories in this year’s WorkSafe Awards.

Entries can be submitted at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/awards 

Ms Frost is also calling on workplaces to “join the conversation” at the ‘Return to Work Online Community’ at www.LinkedIn.com to share experiences and successes about getting back to work after injury. The community is free to join.

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