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The Return On Investment for Workplace Rehabilitation

For many people, workplace rehabilitation is seen as a negative thing – it often means someone has been injured at work and is going through the recovery process to be able to return to their old role, or a new one.

Or it could mean someone is returning to work after a long illness, and needs supports in place to help them.

A recent report found that “early and mandated referral to workplace rehabilitation could help save Australian workers’ compensation schemes $800 million per year.”

Negative image

Historically, workplace rehabilitation was seen by some as more of a cost than an investment. Research suggests this was due to several factors, including that it was often just another box to be checked when dealing with worker compensation claims – whether or not the worker would benefit from workplace rehabilitation. This led to rising costs, but not always improved outcomes.

Other factors included:

  • In some cases it was the workplace rehabilitation providers which were managing compensation claims, rather than insurers – which led to a mindset of greater costs.
  • In other cases, the insurers had control over the number and types of services provided which again led to a cost mindset.

Workplace rehabilitation should only be provided to those who actually need it – and it should be given as soon as it is safe to do so.

How does effective workplace rehabilitation help?

Research shows workplace-based interventions can improve return to work outcomes. It also shows that workplace rehabilitation providers are the best organisations to facilitate these interventions because they are impartial and possess the necessary skills and qualifications.

Ernst & Young research for the NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority recently found:

  • Workplace rehabilitation providers improved the return-to-work outcomes for claims between 6 months to 24 months’ time lost.
  • Appointing a workplace rehabilitation provider within the first 2 months improved return to work rates by 3%-5% – which can lead to a total costs savings of 4%-9% on insurance claims.

In NSW alone, this could lead to a worker’s compensation scheme cost saving of $330 million – and $800 million nationally for Australian employers.

International studies have also found strong cost benefits of workplace rehabilitation programs that help get injured workers back to work.

What it means for employers

An effective program of using workplace rehabilitation providers in cases where it is actually needed, and where there will be positive outcomes, can significantly reduce the costs associated with workers’ compensation schemes.

It also means injured workers are better supported to return to work more safely, and often more swiftly, which helps improve morale for the affected parties, and throughout the workplace.

What it means for employees

Workers can feel confident knowing that if they are injured, any workplace rehabilitation program they attend will actually benefit them – rather than be just another box to be ticked off in the process – to help them return to work and recover.

Rehab Management is an accredited workplace rehabilitation provider. We can help you recover and get back to work as soon as possible. Contact us to find out more.

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