7. Injury and illness management

Te whakahaere wharanga me te māuiui

Schools must report, record and investigate all incidents accurately and promptly and identify any trends to their health and safety rep and WorkSafe where appropriate. Near misses with potential outcomes of serious injuries and/or illnesses are reported to their health and safety representative and WorkSafe. These are investigated, and corrective actions are taken.

For more information and resources, see the Other Content section below.

Your responsibilities as a board

  • Notify all notifiable illness, injury or events to WorkSafe New Zealand
  • Monitor workers’ health and workplace conditions to prevent illness or injury
  • Support staff who are injured or unwell as a good, fair and reasonable employer

Leadership

“We do not make people better in order to get them back to work, we get people back to work in order to make them better.”

- Richard Pimentel, RTW expert based in the US

Why

Why does the board have a role

There are many tangible and less visible benefits to ensuring effective injury and illness management:

  • Overall staff well-being and attendance
  • Positive focus with improved culture and morale
  • Job conditioning
  • Increases chances of a full return to work
  • Reduces costs
  • Recruitment and retention - retain knowledge, skills, and experience

What

What do you need to know

Injury and illness management starts before someone is employed by your organisation. It starts with recruitment.  Schools must report, record and investigate all incidents accurately and promptly and identify any trends to their health and safety rep and WorkSafe where appropriate. Near misses with potential outcomes of serious injuries and/or illnesses are reported to their health and safety representative and WorkSafe. These are investigated, and corrective actions are taken.

How

How to manage illness and injury in the workplace

Having documentation provides transparency. It serves as a framework for all your employee/employer responsibilities for your injury and illness management activity, indicates to your staff that this is a process that you are taking seriously, and you want it supported by a policy document. The policy document is a “refer to” document when employee’s or employers are uncertain of their responsibilities and aids with the consistency of process application – it sets clear expectations.

  • Procedures – Ensure everyone knows the game plan and that it is clear. No surprises. 
  • Consistency - Do it the same every time so that everyone knows what to expect.
  • Subject Matter Expert – Some workplaces have a Return to Work (RTW) coordinator (one point of contact) and some have managers/supervisors manage the RTW. There are advantages to both so do what is best for you but however, you do it make sure you are setting people up to be successful. Either have a person who manages injury and/or illness management or have someone as a point of contact for managers go to for support.
  • Roles & Responsibilities- decide who does what & when and stick to it. Make sure everyone is clear on what they have to do.
  • Monitor and review- keep an eye of workers as they return and learn from experience

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