Managing Injured Employee Relationships for a Smooth Return to the Workplace

by Jan 31, 2023All Posts, WH&S, Workers Comp

An employee being injured can be a stressful time for all involved, only to be exacerbated if the affected employee and employer relationship deteriorates within the employee’s time away from work. It is common to see injured employees apprehensive about returning to work, leading to extensions of anticipated return dates, and additional leave and illness as the lack of support and rehabilitation of injury result in psychosocial suffering. In response, we are going to define how employers can ensure a smooth return to the workplace for all!

Communication

Safe Work Australia advise that communication and early support are essential in assisting employees through prolonged illness and injury for an efficient and smooth return to the workplace. This communication should be regular and follow the journey of the injured employee, making contact:

  • When the injury or illness is acquired
  • During the employee’s time away from work
  • In preparation of the employees return to work
  • Upon return to work

If supervisors maintain regular communication, it allows for informed decisions that benefit both the injured employee and the business. It offers accurate ideals of return to work dates through the knowledge of the severity of the illness or injury, the setting of return to work goals, and most importantly fosters a supportive and open employer to employee relationship that promotes employee value and desire to return to work. Notably, the employer needs to maintain employee privacy within communicative efforts, ensuring that personal and private information is not distributed to other employees.

Action

If the injury or illness of an employee has been acquired from the workplace, then it is essential that immediate changes, ‘as are reasonably practicable’‘, are implemented to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.

Regardless of injury or illness acquisition, modifications and adaptions will be required to see employees return gradually and successfully to the workplace. This will often requisite and be in correspondence with specifications from a health professional set out within an individualised ‘Return to Work’ program, which should be regularly reviewed to appropriately manage the employee’s capacity to perform tasks as conditions improve or deteriorate.

Upon ‘returning to work’, opportunity should be given for employees to discuss any issues or concerns. Such as, modifications of role or anxieties about returning to the working environment.

Promoting A Positive Transition
  • Inform the team of the employees return and advise of any reduced or modified duties and how this will impact upon production and roles.
  • Ask the team to make the returning employee feel welcomed, particularly important if recovering from a psychosocial injury.
  • Promote the use of the Employee Assistance Program and any wellness benefits that may be available to employees.
  • Provide flexibility towards ongoing medical appointments and possible treatments.
  • Remember to maintain a focus upon what an employee CAN do opposed to what they cannot!
Support

We further advise that employer’s offer supports to both ill and injured employees to reduce the likelihood of psychosocial injury, particularly those who will be away for a substantial amount of time. Supports such as, Life Line Australia and Beyond Blue. Remember, it is an employer’s legal responsibility to do all that is, ‘reasonably practicable’ to keep employees safe, and this is inclusive of psychosocial hazards and injury.  

    Dealing with injuries at work and compensation claims can be very taxing and unpleasant for employers, with ‘Return to Work’ coordinators flat out within an over run system. Assurance HR Management regularly act on behalf of employers to manage employee injury and illness, and we have found it imperative that issues are managed appropriately and efficiently. Contact us today on 1800 577 515 and speak with one of our specialists, and together we can see your employees back on deck ASAP.  

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