Award winner to present at return to work forum

The winner of the 2011 WorkSafe Return to Work Coordinator Excellence award will present at a free workshop in Preston next week (29th March) as part on an ongoing effort to help get injured workers back to work.  
News article published

Tuesday 20 Mar 2012

Industries and topics
  • Return to work

Joe O’Meara, return to work coordinator at the Malmsbury Youth Justice Custodial Centre, will discuss his secrets to success and provide tips and hints for employers and injured workers to achieve better outcomes.

“It’s important for the workplace to have a culture that says we are going to look after an injured worker and get them back into the workplace,” Mr O’Meara said.

“If I am aware someone is injured and not at work, the first thing I do is go and meet with them. You need to make them feel they’re number one or really even the only party in this sense.“

Mr O’Meara will discuss his organisation’s approach to managing injured employees in the workplace and how following a number of significant changes has led to significant improvements in their return to work rates.

Other topics which will be covered at the event also include identifying suitable duties in challenging environments, working with mature aged workers and the key to successful communication in your workplace.

WorkSafe’s return to work project manager, Danielle Jacobs, said around 29,000 Victorian workers suffered work-related injuries each year, with around 3000 of those remaining out of the workforce for more than six months.  

“For this reason, it’s essential that all businesses have the necessary skills needed to help get injured workers back to safe work,” she said.

“We urge businesses to come along to the session to find new ways to support their injured workers and to learn how to achieve successful return to work outcomes in their workplace.”

“When someone is injured at work, the impacts can be significant and widespread, affecting not only the injured work but other people at work, at home and in the community.”

“Helping an injured worker to return to safe, sustainable work sooner – even if it’s on reduced hours and modified or alternative duties – can achieve a better return to work outcome in the long-term.”

“It also helps the business maintain productivity and keep the cost of WorkSafe injury insurance premiums down.”

Ms Jacobs said a recent employer performance analysis revealed employers who attended the WorkSafe return to work coordinator events on average achieved better return to work outcomes than those who didn’t attend.

The event will be held on Thursday, 29 March at the Darebin Arts & Entertainment Centre (cnr of Bell Street and St George’s Road) Preston from 1.30pm to 4pm.

Employers are encouraged to register to the event by clicking on the ‘workshops and events section’ at: For more information on the event, please contact WorkSafe’s Return to Work Project Manager, Danielle Jacobs on 9940 4283.