Get back to work faster after a workplace injury

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There's only a 70% chance an injured employee who takes 20 days off work will ever return. Here's what to do.

Research shows that if an employee takes 20 days off work for a workplace injury, the chance of them ever returning to work is 70 per cent. That figure, however, drops radically the longer they’re off work.

The odds are 50/50 that an injured employee will ever return to work if they’re off for 45 days. Once they’re absent for 70 days, the chances of them ever returning is just 35 per cent.

That’s according to a 2013 report by Konekt Market and the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, based on research carried out at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital. And it’s well worth mining industry employers taking note.

So, what can be done to avoid this phenomenon? Early intervention is the name of the game. Get on top of any potential injuries before they occur or develop.

The Australasian study found that early intervention could cut the length of time workers spent away from a mine site by almost 70 per cent — and obviously significantly lower the costs to the employer into the bargain.

Quick action means staff return to work sooner

The study also revealed some interesting findings specific to the hospital, both pre- and post- the program and study. Before the program began, workplace data from two years prior to the study was analysed to assess lost-time injury rates, time to return to work, incidence, and costs of claims and premiums.

Amongst other things it showed that the hospital’s early intervention healthcare program changed durations of lost-time injuries as follows:

Period Average Duration of LTI

2 years prior to the program: 53 days
1 year prior to the program: 80 days
1 year after the program: 53 days
2 years after the program: 18 days

While there is no doubt that in all industries (including mining), preventing injuries from occurring at all is critically important, early identification, intervention and management of workplace injuries are also great for both employee welfare and employer productivity, and therefore cost savings.

You can read the full and latest Konekt report here.

If you’re looking to expand your team to bring on board the skills your mining business needs for the future, contact Mining People International.

Steve Heather signature
Steve Heather – BAppSc (Mining Engineering) WASM, FRCSA

Managing Director & Principal Executive Search - Mining People International (MPi)

Fellow/National Board Member – Recruitment, Consulting & Staffing Association Aust. & N.Z. (RCSA)

Steve.heather@miningpeople.com.au