While recovery from a physical injury suffered by a person at work is relatively easy to demonstrate and assess, getting better and returning to work after a psychological injury is considerably more complicated.
Whether caused by workplace harassment, stress or bullying, many Australians require time off to recover from psychological injuries sustained during the course of their employment. Returning to work can be a daunting prospect, potentially re-triggering the stress and anxiety at the heart of the employee’s original issue.
In NSW, the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) which oversees the administration and regulation of the state’s workers’ compensation and motor vehicle accident compensation schemes, has introduced a new evidence-based service to help those who suffer a psychological injury transition back to work.
More details on how this service works are provided in this post. We suggest you consult an expert compensation law firm should you need more detail about how this service works with accessing workers’ compensation entitlements for a psychological injury.
The new SIRA scheme explained
In a partnership with the Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association (ARPA), SIRA’s service aims to improve the return-to-work outcomes for those who’ve suffered an employment-related psychological injury and are on workers’ compensation.
The service initiates a workplace discussion facilitated by rehabilitation providers to help resolve the prospect of interpersonal conflict when an injured person returns to work. It’s estimated this approach can result in a 20 percent improvement in return-to-work outcomes for those with psychological injuries. The initiative is part of a concerted effort to lift poor return-to-work rates within the NSW’s workers’ compensation scheme.
On the launch of the new service, SIRA Chief Executive Adam Dent reaffirmed the designs for this service in reaffirming that:
‘While delayed return to work has always been more challenging for people with psychological injuries, the gap between outcomes for people with physical and psychological injuries is now the widest it has ever been,’
‘There is no doubt that achieving good outcomes for people that have suffered an injury due to workplace bullying, harassment or work-related stress, is harder than supporting someone with a physical injury.
However, the growing divide in outcomes between people with psychological and physical injuries must be addressed.
By introducing workplace facilitated discussions, SIRA aims to increase the support that is available to people with psychological injuries or in psychological distress.
The evidence base shows that workplace discussions facilitated by a third party can resolve workplace conflict and aid improved return to work…’
The discussion process sees an accredited, experienced workplace rehabilitation provider help resolve workplace relationship issues and reset expectations between the worker, the employer and other relevant parties.
The result is a ‘workable’ agreement and a plan to assist the injured person’s return to, and recovery at, work.
Those who have accessed the NSW workers’ compensation scheme for their psychological injury can speak with their doctor, workplace rehabilitation provider, employer or insurer about taking part in workplace-facilitated discussions.
How an experienced compensation lawyer can help
Workers’ compensation can be a complex scheme to navigate, even if your injury appears to be quite straightforward. If your workplace injury is psychological in nature, the issues involved in making a claim – from evidence of the cause of your injury to assessing its severity – are even more complex.
While workers’ compensation is designed to help an injured worker recover and get back to work, this can be difficult for those with a psychological injury. Unlike a physical injury, determining when a person is ‘recovered’ from a psychological injury is much more difficult.
To guide you through these difficult issues, the advice and guidance of our award-winning Sydney worker compensation Lawyers specialists at BPC Lawyers can help remove the stress and worry from making a claim, beginning your recovery and eventually returning to work. If any of the information in this article applies to your situation, call our professional team today.