Engaging large employers in return-to-work strategies

| July 25, 2017

Work injuries cost the Australian economy over $60 billion each year, and the psychological trauma can be as damaging as the physical harm caused by injury. Going back to good work at the right time, following injury or ill health, has been shown to have real and long-term benefits, both in terms of productivity and personal wellbeing.

Good work can expedite healing, reduce symptoms, promote an active lifestyle and foster connectedness. However, long-term absence, disablement or unemployment erodes health and wellbeing, with unnecessary delay in returning to work after injury often associated with delayed recovery.

On 23 May 2017, the institute for active policy Global Access Partners (GAP) held a second roundtable in the ‘Recovery at Work’ series, at NSW Parliament House. The discussion focused on strategies to encourage recovery at work after soft tissue injuries and how to ‘Engage Large Employers in Best Practice’.

Opening the roundtable was the NSW Minister for Ageing, The Hon. Tanya Davies. A two-hour discussion, facilitated by Dr Norman Swan of the ABC’s the Health Report, followed on from outstanding presentations by Prof Michael Nicholas of University of Sydney and Prof Alex Collie of Monash University.

The roundtable built upon 2016 findings suggesting that large employers should be encouraged to develop best practice recovery-at-work processes, which include taking into account the importance of a holistic service approach to recovery that acknowledges that the whole person must be cared for, rather than any particular health condition in isolation.

Fifty representatives from big business (including Optus, Westpac, ALDI and McDonalds), small business, NSW and Victorian Governments and academia discussed challenges and successes in the rollout of recovery-at-work programs. Some large employers had fully realised return-to-work strategies and openly exchanged strategies with others, still struggling with the implementation of effective models.

Global Access Partners looks forward to implementing the recommendations from the discussion, in partnership with those that took part in the roundtable. The official report of proceedings can be read here.

Catherine Fritz-Kalish

Founder & Managing Director of GAP



Recovery at Work: A New Way of Thinking About Work Injuries

A Future Without Age