8. Injury and illness support and rehabilitation

Te tautoko me te whakarauora wharanga me te māuiui

Schools need to have structured systems in place to support the safe and early return to work of injured workers. In a positive workplace environment, workers should feel well supported to report any instance of pain and discomfort. Managers should have defined accountabilities for a return to work/rehabilitation outcomes.

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

Your responsibilities as a board

To ensure that the systems, policies and processes are in place to prevent and manage discomfort, pain and injury of employees effectively. Employees will be happier, healthier and more productive. Injury-related costs can go down, and the board can more easily meet the legal requirement to protect your employees from harm and work with employees to successfully return to work.

Leadership

Have a tangible commitment to injury and illness management in the workplace. Decide who does what and when - then stick to it. Make sure everyone is clear on what they have to do.

Why

Why should the board ensure illness/injury rehabilitation?

Apart from the legal obligations to do so, it just makes good business sense to have systems in place to prevent and minimise the occurrence of illness and/or injury as well as ensuring a good understanding and practice around illness/injury rehabilitation.

What

What is illness/injury support and rehabilitation?

A support and rehabilitation programme details how the school helps workers return to work safely and successfully. It is an important part of the Board’s/ECE’s health and safety management system.

How

How to manage illness/injury rehabilitation?

  • Communication – Ensure communication already exists prior to an injury.  If it doesn’t exist, you will struggle to build it post-injury. For example: “If the boss doesn’t usually talk to me but wants to be my best buddy when I am injured”, it will not go down well.  But if “there is regular contact, I will not find it strange if he wants to work closely with me when I am injured”. 
  • Early and regular contact with employee, GP and ACC. Tell GPs to what extent you can provide suitable work. Tell ACC to what extent you can support employees.
  • 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 has a person who manages Injury Management or has someone as a point of contact for support.
  • Roles & Responsibilities- decide who does what and when, stick to it.
  • Monitor and review- keep an eye of workers as they return and learn from experience.

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