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Working with Allied Health to get workers back to work

As Return to Work Plan specialists, we are well aware of the statistics where the longer you have off work with a workplace injury, the less likely you are to return to work. This has serious detrimental repercussions for the worker, mentally and physically.

We have an extensive team of preferred medical providers who we choose because of their understanding of the many aspects impacting on a worker in addition to the straight ‘treatment’. We all have a goal of getting the best outcome for the worker and the employer.

Recovery_and_Return_to_Work

This is a message from one of our doctors to his injured patient. It explains how getting back or staying at some sort of work is best for them as the worker.

“To put a worker completely off all work duties is a massive call and has ramifications to both worker and employer. We are not just putting you off work for a few days, we are talking a month minimum and you are aware of the effects long term time off work can have on a worker.  

I have included a section of the well known statement of Australian Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work  (AFOEM-Consensus) which we base our Return To Work plans on. If I suggested at least 30 days away from the site work environment based on the extent of your injuries and rehabilitation required. Given the injuries this could easily extend further than the one month. Based on their research that then gives you between a 50-70% chance of never returning to full time employment if we keep you off work completely. As doctors we try to do the best for our patients and putting people off work we often think we are helping but research has shown we can invariably make them worse. My role is to maximum your recovery even if this is something you disagree with but from my experience being off work for over one month straight will hinder you in the long run. 

Performing the home work duties is more to keep you productive and give you simple tasks to complete rather than just sitting around at home dwelling on your injury. This period of time not only delays physical but also psychological improvements. Idle hands type thing. I appreciate your anxiety symptoms which I have attempted to minimise but do you have zero capacity for any work? I don’t think so as you were coping with a similar type of work quiet well prior to the current issues.

In my experience long term time off work with no work involvement will cause more harm than good. My role is to provide a medical opinion on what I believe is the best and optimal management plan for your recovery both physically and psychologically. I believe this is in your best interest. I would advise against being certified completely unfit as I have seen this have significant long term affects on workers and then when they are cleared to return to site typically the anxiety response is significantly higher than compared to a worker doing some basic work at home as it keeps their mind up to speed with work.

I hope this explains the proposed plan and why this will assist you.”

 

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Recommended premium rates for WA workers’ compensation 2014 / 2015

 

On April 8, WorkCover released the new Gazette, please see attached Media Statement.

The recommended premium rates were published today in a Special Government Gazette and will come into effect from 4pm on 30 June 2014. 

It is an average 6.7% decrease in rates.

Workcover media statement1

 

This is good news for our clients but (and there is always a but) insurers will only be willing to pass these reductions on where the clients claims’ history support a reduction in costs or frequency or both, or an improved commitment to OSH.

 

It will also mean brokers will want to deliver better terms which in turn will put insurer under pressure.

 

Note also that some of the reasons that supported the rate reduction was Western Australia’s increasing wages growth (which obviously dilutes the cost of the system and therefore make the performance across the whole State look better). That puts a different slant on the naysayers saying the WA economy is slowing.

 

For any further information, contact Aurenda.

 

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Workers’ compensation premiums going up or down over ten years?

Aurenda has been the leader in injury management for ten years and we have seen some interesting changes over that time.

In 2002 the average workers compensation premium rate in Australia was 2.6% of wage roll, compared to 1.6% in 2012 (WorkCover WA).

Average weekly earnings, however, were $697 in 2002 compared to $1526 in 2012 (Australian Bureau of Statistics “ABS”).

This means that if you employed the same 500 people in 2002 as in 2012, your premium would have increased from $470k to $635k. So, you will have to hand over 40% more money and it will be presented as a good news story – maybe some things never change!

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Is my injured worker allowed to choose his own doctor?

Yes, the legislation allows a worker to choose the doctor of their choice to manage their work place injury.  

However an employer retains the right to have their worker reviewed by a consultant doctor. You can refer them to your own doctor and they can choose their own.  So if they don’t have their own doctor, you can refer them to yours or if they choose their own, they would see two doctors. As part of your Injury Management Process, your company should have a nominated Consultant Doctor who is familiar with industrial health injuries and your workplace and its operations.  You can contact Aurenda on (08) 6389 8900 to discuss a suitable medical practice to assist with your workplace injury management.  

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What do I need to do when an employee sustains a work related injury?

A worker being injured at work is a very stressful experience for everyone concerned. If you are a client of Aurenda, www.aurenda.com ring us on (08) 6389 8900 and we will do everything for you.  Just like this company that has our number of their First Aid lanyard. Image

Otherwise this is the procedure:

  1. Initially you need to get them appropriate medical care. When they are seen by a doctor they need to get the First Medical Certificate (FMC).
  2. You legally have to provide them with a claim form which you can get from your insurer or you can download it from the WorkCover website.  That claim form has to be filled in by the employee and nobody else and has to be signed by him or her in three separate places. You have to make sure they sign it appropriately.
  3. Part of the claim form is the Employers Report of Injury (ERI) form.  It is very important that it is filled in the employers own words, don’t just repeat what the employee has said.
  4. Both the FMC and the ERI form have to be lodged with your insurer within five working days of you receiving the FMC from the employee.

 

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