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Return to Work National Survey Outcomes Summary

Our article this week could be of particular interest to Return to Work Coordinators and HR Managers. They may have an opportunity to compare their workplace experiences with the overall return to work outcomes of workers receiving workers compensation in Australia. And perhaps to better understand the factors that may have an effect on return to work in their workplace.

The opportunity arises because Safe Work Australia has just published their National Return to Work Survey 2018 Summary Report September 2018. It is based on a survey of workers who submitted a workers compensation claim between 1/2/16 and 31/1/18, and had at least one day away from work. We have selected various interesting results from the survey and show them in bullet point below. You can access and download Safe Work Australia’s Summary Report on the survey results HERE. Return to Work Rate

  • 81.8% of the workers surveyed had returned to work since their work-related injury or illness and were currently working at the time of the survey. This is known as the current return to work rate.

  • The current return to work rate varied depending upon the size of the employer: large employer - 81.9%, medium employer - 75%, small employer - 73.5%.

Additional Time Off

  • 19.6% of the workers surveyed had to take additional time off after returning to work due to their work related illness or injury. This percentage was higher among workers from Comcare (27.9%) and Victoria (28.8%).

Reduced Hours & Type of Work Duties

  • 37.6% of the workers surveyed who had returned to work reported that they worked reduced hours upon their return. The rate was 53.7% for workers who experienced mental illness.

  • 38.4% of the workers surveyed who had returned to work performed slightly different/modified duties upon their return to work and 19% of returning workers performed completely different duties.

State of Health

  • 32% of the returned workers rated their health as ‘Good’ and 37.9% of returned workers rated it as either ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’. However, only 27% of returned workers who experienced mental illness rated their health as either ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’.

Physical Pain

  • 32.6% of those surveyed who were back at work had experienced physical pain in the last week and most of those had been suffering from this pain for three months or more. The percentage was 57.7% for those workers who were not currently working.

Financial Distress

  • 28.6% of the workers surveyed reported experiencing above average levels of financial distress but for those not working at the time of the survey, the percentage was 55%.

Reaction to Workers Compensation Claim

  • 32.2% of those surveyed who put in a workers’ compensation claim, felt people at their workplace would treat them differently. This is a key concern for 72.4% of those who experience mental illness.

Interactions with Return to Work Coordinator

  • 11.2% found interactions with their return to work coordinator to be stressful but for those who experienced mental illness this percentage was 25.1%.

Interactions with Health Care Providers

  • 11% respondents overall felt that interactions with their healthcare providers were stressful but for those who experienced mental illness reported this percentage was 25.4%


Recommended Training

Does your company have 6 or more staff that need this training? We can run this course at your site.Call (02) 9552 2066Introduction to Return to Work Coordination Course (SIRA Approved)


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6th November 2018


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