About occupational rehabilitation
After being injured at work, your WorkSafe agent may approve the services of an occupational rehabilitation (OR) provider who can help you to return to work or remain at work.
OR providers are return to work professionals that are experienced in dealing with workplace injuries and helping people back to safe work.
They are independent of all parties involved in your claim, including WorkSafe, the agent managing your claim and your employer.
The role of an Occupational Rehabilitation provider
For injured workers the OR provider will
- get a referral from your WorkSafe agent which will include information about your claim, injury and capacity for work
- contact you to tell you about their role and set up a time to meet with you, and your representative if you have one, to discuss your return to work
- meet with you, your representative if you have one, and your employer to conduct a workplace assessment. The OR provider will help identify duties at work which are suitable for your injury, identify any barriers preventing your return to work, propose strategies to eliminate them, and monitor your progress
- contact your GP and any other treating professionals to discuss your injury and options for return to work. This is a key step to understand what capacity you may have to undertake suitable duties
- work with you, your representative if you have one, your employer and doctor to help you get back to safe work.
For employers the OR provider will
- help with the coordination and communication of all parties
- help employers to navigate the return to work and claim process
- liaise with treating medical practitioners
- assess the workplace, and identify suitable duties that are safe for the injury
- assist in drafting return to work plans and proposals
- identify and overcome any barriers to return to work
- facilitate upgrades in hours and work duties and monitor return to work progress.
Types of occupational rehabilitation services
OR services are tailored to individuals' needs and will differ depending on whether you can return to your pre-injury employer or whether you need to secure employment at a new workplace.
After a work injury, you have return to work obligations to do what you reasonably can to get back to work. In particular, if OR services are approved for your claim, you will be expected to actively participate and cooperate with the OR provider.
Obligations may involve
- keeping regular contact with your employer, agent and OR provider
- regularly providing information about the progress of your recovery to your employer, agent and OR provider
- attending any meetings arranged for your return to work. If you can't attend the meeting, advise the person who arranged the meeting and make alternative arrangements
- making sure your employer, agent and OR provider have your up to date contact details. If they try to contact you, get back to them quickly
- making every reasonable effort to respond in a timely way to employment options proposed by your employer.
If you need assistance at any stage during the return to work process, you can contact your representative, OR provider, your employer, the agent managing your claim, or the WorkSafe advisory service.
Things are easier when everyone works together, and OR providers are there to make that happen.