Workplace Rehabilitation Policy

Policy Health, Safety and Environment Workplace Rehabilitation Policy

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Intent

The aim of this policy is to ensure the University has adequate rehabilitation resources and procedures in place to support an early safe return of any worker who has an injury or illness. The objectives are to:

  • To minimise the social and economic cost of injury and illness;

  • To improve management practices in areas of workplace health and safety;

  • To ensure there is an early and accurate intervention provided following an injury, coordinated by the rehabilitation coordinator, treating doctor and other health professionals.

Scope

This policy applies to all university staff.

Definitions

Alternative/Suitable Duties -  duties that include:

  • Tasks which are designed specifically for an individual ill/injured employee as part of a process to facilitate his/her return to the workplace;

  • Utilised under the treatment regime of the treating doctor;

  • Reviewed regularly by the rehabilitation coordinator, in conjunction with the treating doctor;

  • A means of offering a graded return to normal duties where possible;

  • Meaningful and productive, supported with adequate training where necessary, and which have regard to the objective of the employee's rehabilitation and objectives of the employer;

  • Not to be seen as a permanent job change.

Alternative Duties Specified in Writing - duties specified in writing on Suitable Duties Program, which generally will include:

  • The goal of the program;

  • The job and list of duties;

  • The hours to be worked;

  • Details of training required;

  • Worker’s medical restrictions;

  • Review and monitoring process;

  • Other considerations.

Occupational Rehabilitation - the combined and coordinated use of medical and allied health practitioners to minimise the consequences of injury/illness and to restore or improve function.

Workplace Rehabilitation - a managed process involving early provision of necessary and reasonable services, including suitable duties programs, to ensure the employee's earliest possible return to work, or if return to work is precluded, to maximise the employee's independent functioning.

Policy and Procedures

The University recognises that there are substantial benefits for employees and employers resulting from an employee's early return to work after an injury/illness. An injury covers both physical and psychological. Experience shows that work assists the healing process and helps restore the employee's normal functions sooner.

The organisation is firmly committed to providing an effective Rehabilitation Program with the following objectives:

  • Rehabilitation is normal practice and an expectation within this workplace;

  • Rehabilitation commences as soon as practicable after the injury/illness, with approval of the employee's treating doctor;

  • The goal, through a rehabilitation plan, is to return the injured/ill person to his/her normal duties;

  • A team approach to rehabilitation is used, with cooperation, consultation and confidentiality being key requirements for all persons involved;

  • At all times the rights, welfare and confidentiality of the employee are respected.

The Workplace Rehabilitation Policy was developed through the joint cooperation of management, supervisors, employees and employees’ representatives. For further information you can contact Townsville Rehabilitation Coordinator and Occupational Therapist on ext. 6182.

1. Commitment to Workplace Rehabilitation

James Cook University is committed to providing a timely and effective injury and illness management program for staff who experience work related injuries or illnesses.

Workplace Rehabilitation is a managed process involving early provision of necessary and reasonable services, including suitable duties programs, to facilitate the injured/ill employee's earliest possible return to work, or, if return to work is not possible, to maximise independent functioning.

James Cook University will:

  • Support early referral to rehabilitation services/rehabilitation coordinator;

  • Support the injured/ill employee by active intervention;

  • Ensure rehabilitation in the workplace begins as soon as practicable so that the employee's maximum physical, psychological and social potential can be restored;

  • Return the employee to pre-injury/illness position if possible by encouraging an early return to work, using established rehabilitation procedures;

  • Accept rehabilitation practices as part of management functions within the university;

  • Involve the injured or ill employee actively in the process of the rehabilitation program;

  • Support restricted hours of work for employees who are unable to perform a full day's duties;

  • Ensure the injured/ill person retains the right to receive treatment from whomsoever they wish, subject to James Cook University's right to have the injured/ill person examined by a doctor of its choice.

The University is also committed to facilitating the return to work of employees with non-work related injuries or illnesses.

2. Responsibilities of all Parties

2.1 Rehabilitation Coordinators

The role of the Rehabilitation Coordinator is to coordinate and monitor the Workplace Return to Work Policy and individual rehabilitation programs by:

  • Initiating and maintaining contact with the injured/ill worker as soon as possible after an injury/illness has occurred;

  • Ensuring the injured/ill employee has access to appropriate information and resources;

  • Ensuring that the following documentation has been completed:

- Accident, incident and injury report;

- WorkCover employee claim form;

- WorkCover employer claim form (reported to WorkCover within 8 working days where possible);

- Employment declaration form (if required);

  • Ensuring that the injured/ill employee's supervisor is fully aware of his/her current status;

  • Establishing and maintaining appropriate contact with doctors and other health care professionals;

  • Establishing and maintaining a good working relationship with the WorkCover Qld claims and rehabilitation staff;

  • Developing and maintaining accurate and up to date records of rehabilitation cases, ensuring confidentiality;

  • Keeping accurate and objective case notes of all communications, actions and decisions, and reasons for actions and decisions, ensuring each notation is dated and signed;

  • Keeping accurate and meaningful statistics;

  • Educating all employees about our workplace rehabilitation policy and procedures and what to expect when an injury/illness occurs. Educating supervisors on their role and responsibilities of rehabilitation;

  • Promoting James Cook University's workplace rehabilitation program internally to maintain staff's commitment and externally to local doctors and other health care professionals to build a good working relationship and gain their trust;

  • Ensuring that the university's workplace rehabilitation policy and procedures are included in the staff induction program;

  • Ensuring the injured/ill employee is coping with the selected duties by conducting workplace inspections;

  • Ensuring overall effectiveness of the current programs and initiate corrective action if required.

2.2 Internal Rehabilitation Provider

The function of the Internal Rehabilitation Provider is to provide expert advice on aspects of rehabilitation to James Cook University. Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting in the preparation and implementation of the rehabilitation plan;

  • Liaising with all parties concerned so as to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the rehabilitation plan for the individual employee;

  • Where appropriate, observing all the requirements of the insurer.

2.3 Doctors/Psychologists

The treating Medical Practitioner will approve all work programs.  Rehabilitation Coordinator will liaise with treating practitioners on a regular basis to assist in sustainable return to work program.

2.4 Injured Employee

Injured/ill employees are encouraged, but not obliged, to use the organisation's preferred doctor for all work related injury/illness owing to the doctor's knowledge of the James Cook University's Workplace Rehabilitation Program and nature of suitable duties available:

  • Advise the doctor of the availability of a suitable return to work program;

  • Ask the doctor to complete the Work Capabilities Report;

  • Minimise the cost of the injury/illness by actively participating in Workplace programs;

  • Provide regular feedback to the Rehabilitation Coordinator and Supervisors to enable an accurate evaluation of any agreed plan;

  • Employees’ responsibilities include assisting in the rehabilitation by attending regular reviews as agreed;

  • To mitigate further injury or aggravation to current injury in non-work related activities.

2.5 Role of Supervisors

Supervisors have a central role in ensuring the success of any rehabilitation program. They are to:

  • Notify the Rehabilitation Coordinator of an injured or ill employee immediately;

  • Maintain contact with the injured or ill employee during his/her absences from work and encourage fellow employees to do likewise;

  • Work with the injured or ill employee, assisted by the Rehabilitation Coordinator by:

- Identifying current and alternative duties;

- Determining an appropriate return to work program;

- Providing support in the implementation of the return to work program;

- Monitoring job performance and progress;

- Attending Review meetings;

  • Advise fellow employees of the injured or ill employee's capabilities and negotiate workplace adjustments in advance of the return to work;

  • Notify the Rehabilitation Coordinator of any problems being experienced by the individual as a result of job placement;

  • Maintain confidentiality of an inured employee by discussing case only on a need to know basis.

2.6 Fellow Employees

Fellow employees within the workplace are encouraged to be actively involved in a positive manner wherever possible to support the rehabilitation process. Information workshops should be held to create an awareness of the problems incurred by employees whose injury/illness impairs their ability to work.

3. Rehabilitation Procedures

3.1 Reporting of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses

Work related injuries or illnesses including those that are caused or aggravated by work, during work hours (including breaks and approved overtime) or whilst travelling to or from work should be reported.

3.2 Medical Attention/Psychological Counselling

The University nominates UniHealth (NQ) Ltd. situated at The Townsville Hospital, Douglas and the Smithfield Medical Centre in Campus Village, Cairns, as its preferred provider of medical services to employees with work related injuries and illnesses.

Where medical attention beyond the basic first aid level is required, it is desirable that an injured/ill employee either consult UniHealth (NQ) Ltd. in Townsville or the Smithfield Medical Centre in Campus Village Cairns.

Where psychological counseling is required, the University nominates the Employee Assistance Program on both campuses as its preferred provider of psychological services.

For other locations, employees are requested to consult with their preferred medical practitioner/psychologist.

If any of the preferred Health or Psychological Services are unavailable, it is recommended that the injured/ill employee use their own medical practitioner/psychologist.

However, the University respects the rights of individuals to consult a medical practitioner and other health professionals of their choice if they so desire.

3.3 Reporting

The injury or illness should be reported orally or in writing to the immediate supervisor as soon as possible.

If the injury or illness necessitates absences of more than 5 working days, and has the potential to require rehabilitation assessment, then it should be reported to the Rehabilitation Coordinator (see introduction for contact details) as soon as possible, by either the worker or supervisor.

Irrespective of the number of days absent, assessment is available if the injury or illness interferes with the employee's ability to perform normal duties.

If the incident involves a serious bodily injury or dangerous occurrence, then the University's Workplace Health and Safety Coordinator should be notified immediately. The Coordinator would then notify the Director of Workplace Health and Safety (within the Department of Training and Industrial Relations) Townsville within 24 hours of the incident occurring. This is a requirement under the Workplace Health and Safety Act.

3.4 Written Reporting

A University Accident, Incident and Injury Report Form is obtainable from the area’s Workplace Health and Safety Officer and should be completed by the injured/ill employee as soon as possible.

The yellow copy when completed is detached and forwarded to the Workers' Compensation Officer.

The white copy (on the back), when completed by the Supervisor and Head of the area, is forwarded to the University Workplace Health and Safety Coordinator for investigation and follow-up.

Where a claim is to be made in respect of an injury/illness it is important the employee ask his or her doctor for a Workers' Compensation Medical Certificate.

Under no circumstances should the visit to the doctor be bulk-billed. The injured/ill employee should either obtain an account from the doctor or pay for the consultation and obtain a receipt. Should the employee have to visit a pharmacist with a prescription from the doctor, or to purchase anything for their injuries/illness, it is essential that a detailed account be obtained.

The employee should then contact the Rehabilitation Coordinator regarding the completion of a WorkCover Claim Form and discuss any other relevant details. Ensure that all accounts, receipts and the medical certificate are brought along.

The Rehabilitation Coordinator will make early contact with the ill/injured employee, medical practitioner and other involved treating health professionals to initially inform them of James Cook University's support of the employee and our willingness to coordinate-operate in all aspects of their rehabilitation, where possible.

If the injured/ill employee is unable to return to his/her previous position, suitable duties/employment will be negotiated by his/her rehabilitation plan team, comprising the injured/ill employee, the Rehabilitation Coordinator, the supervisor, and the appropriate union representative if required by the injured/ill employee.

Subsequent regular contact will be maintained.

4. Non Work Related Injury or Illness

If an employee has been, or is likely to be, absent from work for longer than two weeks as a result of non work related injury or illness, the Rehabilitation Coordinator must be advised. The Supervisor will make contact with the staff member to establish whether assistance is required in the return to work process.

If assistance is required, and with the consent of the employee, the Rehabilitation Coordinator will facilitate the return to work process in consultation with the employee, the Supervisor, the Head of the area, the employee's medical practitioner and any rehabilitation providers or counsellors.

5. Rights of the Injured/Ill Worker

All employees employed by James Cook University have the following rights with regard to rehabilitation:

  • To participate in a rehabilitation program;

  • To choose their own doctor/psychologist, and to confidentiality of personal medical/psychological information. The employer must obtain the employee's written authority before obtaining or releasing medical or psychological information;

  • To be consulted in the development of a return-to-work rehabilitation plan;

  • To be provided with appropriate duties and a current copy of their return to work plan, as part of a plan to return to normal duties;

  • To seek independent advice before signing any documentation;

  • To have personal information kept confidential by the parties authorised for the purpose of rehabilitation. This information must not be disclosed without the employee's written permission (note - personal information is information relating to the details of medical conditions and treatments, or information concerning family, financial or emotional matters);

  • To have a rehabilitation plan changed where it is proving ineffectual or unsatisfactory;

  • To participate in a rehabilitation plan which takes proper account of individual needs including recognition of cultural or linguistic background;

  • Not to be dismissed from employment due to being on a rehabilitation plan;

  • Not to be required to carry out duties which are in conflict with the agreed medical constraints;

  • To union representation if so desired;

  • To ask for a review of any decision with which they may, or may not, agree.

6. Review of Rehabilitation Progress

Rehabilitation progress will be monitored on a regular basis by the Rehabilitation Coordinator in conjunction with other parties involved, as applicable.

The progress of each case will be considered on medical or psychological grounds. If continued rehabilitation is necessary, and the employee's progress is satisfactory to all concerned, then extensions to the rehabilitation program may be approved.

Programs will be time limited and subject to assessment based on medical advice.

Reassessment may involve consultation with, and advice from, any of the following parties:

  • The injured/ill employee;

  • Senior Management, College Deans, Offices, and/or Supervisor;

  • Union representative;

  • Rehabilitation Coordinator;

  • University Health Services or University Counselling Centre, and other relevant treatment providers;

  • Representative from WorkCover Qld;

  • University Disability Resources Officer.

7. Confidentiality

At all times confidentiality of information is to be respected. The Rehabilitation Coordinator will:

  • Obtain written authorisation from the employee for release of medical or psychological information;

  • Ensure records are stored securely on the employees personal file;

  • Limit the release of information to those personnel who are actively involved in the plan.

8. Conclusion

This policy establishes a clear commitment by James Cook University to ensure the availability of an effective occupational rehabilitation program for its employees.

This commitment goes hand-in-hand with an appreciation as to the importance of cooperation and support required from all parties to ensure that this approach becomes part of an holistic disability management strategy.

9. Evaluation

This policy will be reviewed every three years with respect to:

  • Assessing whether the objectives have been met;

  • Incorporating any suggestions from rehabilitees on how the service can be improved or altered;

  • Providing feedback and giving recognition for work done to all those participating in the program;

  • Incorporating any amendment to the WorkCover Qld Act.

Related Documents and Legislation

Health and Safety Manual (General)

Administration

Approval Details

NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Policy Sponsor:

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services and Resources

Approval Authority:

Health Safety and Environment Committee

Date for next Major Review:

Within 6 months of interim status approval

Revision History

NOTE: A minor amendment will not result in a change of the next major review date.

Approval date - the date the approval authority approved the establishment, minor or major amendment or disestablishment

Implementation Date - the date the policy was published in the Policy Library and is the date the policy takes effect

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

17-110/03/201714/03/2017

Interim approval (6 months) granted by the Vice Chancellor. Major review to be conducted within this time-frame.

Dot point 2 in Clause 6 changed from Heads of Schools to: College Deans.

Quality, Standards and Policy Officer

15-1

24/06/2015

 

Policy sponsor and approval authority amended to reflect approved policy framework

Quality, Standards and Policy

08-1

20/03/2008

20/03/2008

Removed HR Officer Cairns as a contact person

 

04-1

25/11/2004

25/11/2004

 

There are no related procedures.

There are no other related documents.