Getting back to work faster, after a workplace injury

Miner in hard hat and PPE

Source: While not specifically quoting mining industry statistics, this article found in the "HR Director" magazine in January 2014 stated some fascinating statistics that are likely to have relevance to ‘return to work’ factors (post workplace injuries) across all industries.

Some general return to work stats; timing is critical

If an individual is off work for:

  • 20 days - the chance of ever returning is 70%
  • 45 days - the chance of ever returning is 50%
  • 70 days - the chance of ever returning is 35%

Stats supplied by Konekr Market Report 2013 and the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The study and research program

The specific article described a detailed study carried out in Melbourne’s St Vincent private hospital. Under the guidance of an advisory committee, including members of the hospital's executive team, the Health Services Union and WorkSafe Victoria, a new Work Health Management Program was created.

Early intervention results

The study found that an early intervention approach to workplace injury can cut workers time away from work by almost 70% and obviously significantly lower employer costs.

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 health care program changed duration rates of lost time injuries as follows:

Average Duration of LTI
2 years prior to the program   53 days
1 year prior to the program   80 days
1 year post the program 53 days
2 years post the program 8 days

Prevention is key but early identification and management are also!

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.

Source: publications/human-resources-director