The business benefit of early intervention
If a person is off work after an injury for 20 days, there’s a 70 per cent chance they will return back to work.
At 45 days off work, that chance is reduced to 50 per cent and at 70 days it’s just 35 per cent, according to The Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ report.
That’s why an early intervention program for workplace accidents is an important investment for employees as well as the bottom line.
“Appropriate early intervention increases the probability of a quicker recovery, return to work and thus a decrease in the cost to business,” said QBE Workers Compensation WA State Manager, Toni Strutt.
“It makes good business sense to respond immediately so the duration of a workplace injury can be contained and the extent of the recovery is optimised.”
Good workplace practices like creating awareness on how to notice injury warning signs early on, make a significant difference to an employee’s recovery.
Strutt outlined three key steps for employers:
- Foster a culture for employees to report injuries early, and submit claims for workplace injuries
- Implement an Injury Management System that details how you, as the employer, will support your employees if an injury occurs
- Develop and actively participate in Return to Work programs with injured employees
Employer support is crucial
“Historically, personal injury schemes have used the injury diagnosis and severity to assess risk and predict the duration for recovery,” said Strutt.
“But we now know that using this biomedical approach alone is one of the weakest predictors of recovery and return to work.”
Psychosocial factors which include a person’s beliefs and attitudes about their injury can have a significant impact on a person’s recovery from a workplace injury.
“An employee’s belief or perception about support from their direct supervisor and co-workers at work is one of the strongest predictors of a successful return to work,” Strutt explained.
Given the known impact of psychosocial factors it’s imperative for all employers to consider their employee holistically and consider all aspects of their personal life and the workplace culture when managing a workplace injury.
Strutt explained that QBE’s Early Intervention Support Service provides a field consultant to our customers to assist with educating and optimising their response to a workplace injury.
The service allows employers the time to get on with running their business without compromising on the support they provide to their injured employee, thus improving recovery and return to work outcomes.
“An employer in a small company may not have the time to attend doctor’s appointments, create an effective return to work plan for their injured worker or ensure that they’re receiving the correct rehabilitation,” she explained.
“For our employers in our lowest premium band we have seen our average claim duration be reduced by 9 weeks to 16 weeks in total, compared to 25 weeks for claims without the early intervention support service.
“We have also seen this reduced duration have a positive impact on our average claim costs in terms of both wage payments and medical expenses,” Strutt added.
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