People who now me will know that I always go on about the demographic time-bomb in Australia that is our Ageing workforce. Its a little bit of a buzz word now however being heavily involved in injury prevention services with corporate clients over the years I have been asking company health and well-being coordinators what stats they keep with regards to injury’s and the rates, frequencies and duration that it takes to get said worker back to pre-injury duties.
The answer… very little.
A lot of companies will look at the rate and frequencies and focus solely on keeping under the magic “4%” of staff being off work with a compensable claim/injury.
The problem an ageing workforce creates is that its not about the frequency or rate presently but the duration of the claims and the affect of an ageing workforce in duration length, barriers to recovery and post injury work ability and confidence.
As a company working with exercise rehabilitation under the workers compensation system we see first hand the spikes in our statistics due to the affects of an ageing workforce on injuries and recovery times. What may seem like a relatively ‘minor’ injury can end up going on for 1-2 years due to co-morbidities, fear avoidance behaviour and associated mental health issues leading to the worker becoming firmly entrenched in the system.
Proactive companies now need to have ‘providers of choice’ for all things workers compensation that provide good return on investment for assisting injured workers back to work.
Providers need to incorporate a behavioural approach as well as physical to give workers the confidence to rehabilitate safely and effectively that simplify s their diagnosis and guides them through the recovery and what to expect within the system. Providers who don’ stay ahead of the curve using a true and transparent process whereby all stakeholders (including the employer) are informed, will simply fall by the wayside.