26 September 2023

Conversation guide to have workers talking

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WorkSafe Victoria has launched a conversation guide, encouraging employers to open the lines of communication as early as possible after a workplace incident to make the return-to-work process easier.

The Agency said its guide, The sooner the better: A guide to starting the return to work conversation, provided simple ways to open a conversation with an injured employee and tips to make their return-to-work process easier.

“It’s not easy to know what to say or when to say something, but it is essential to get the conversation up and running so that your injured workers feel valued and supported,” WorkSafe said.

“Research shows that when contact is made with an injured worker in the first three days post-injury, the return-to-work outcome of psychological injuries increases by 63 per cent and 26 per cent in physical injuries,” it said.

“As an Employer, reach out as early as possible.”

WorkSafe said a simple check-in to ask how the employee was faring, and how they would like to be supported, was all it took.

“To start, make sure you choose the right person within the workplace to reach out to the injured worker,” it said.

“This should be someone they work with directly like a line manager or team leader rather than HR, if appropriate.”

The Agency said employers and employees should then make a plan to keep in touch throughout the return-to-work journey.

It said there were benefits to actively ensuring that injured workers returned to work, including that workers would recover faster; the business would retain their skills and knowledge; it reduced the cost of lost productivity; there was no need to recruit and train new staff; it built workplace moral; and reduced the impact of the business’s claim on their WorkCover Insurance premium.

WorkSafe’s seven-page Guide can be accessed at this PS News link.

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