What is Workplace Rehabilitation?

Workplace rehabilitation is the process of providing guidance and support to an injured worker to enable safe and timely return to work after an injury or illness.

The rehabilitation process is about finding the best ways for the worker to remain at work and engaged with the workplace while keeping their valuable work skills. Rehabilitation aims to return the worker to the job they had before their injury. If the worker is unable to return to their pre-injury job soon after their injury, a Suitable Duties Program is developed to enable the worker to return to work safely over a period of time.

Workplace rehabilitation may involve:

  • A Suitable Duties Program, which may include temporary modifications and/or restrictions of a person’s normal job tasks, with the aim to return to full duties over a period of time
  • On-the-job training and up-skilling to acquire new skills, and/or
  • A workplace rehabilitation program developed in a consultative process involving the injured worker, the injured worker’s supervisor, the treating medical practitioner(s), and the WHS Injury Prevention and Management Advisor.

Workplace rehabilitation is beneficial to both the injured worker and the employer.

For workers, rehabilitation means:

  • Faster recovery and reduced suffering
  • Minimal disruption to family, social and working life
  • Improved physical condition and confidence about returning to work
  • Earlier return to productive work, and
  • Job and financial security.

For employers, rehabilitation means:

  • Helping workers deal with an injury and returning to normal work routines
  • Retaining – rather than losing – a skilled worker, and
  • Controlling the costs of workplace injury, e.g. by getting workers back to work in a safe and timely manner, reducing the costs of replacing staff and WorkCover premiums.