Health and Safety

Employees returning to work from injury & making ACC your BFF!

Employees returning to work from injury & making ACC your BFF!

When you get it wrong with health and safety, accidents happen. As a result, having staff of work can mean your small business can take a real in the pocket!

The management of ACC claims can be the difference between employees returning to work quickly or not at all. Firing someone for medical incapacity is harder than you think! Trust me I’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt but, here is what I have learned;

The ground rules;

  • Do everything you can to stop accidents happening. This not only reduces the chance of someone hurting themselves and needing time off work, it also means your ACC levies don’t skyrocket. You didn’t think about that now did you?
  • When someone gets hurt, even outside of work, make ACC your new BFF. Why? Because they will work with you to get them back to work ASAP, let’s face it, they don’t want to be hit in the pocket either if they don’t have to be.
  • Make sure you have a return to work policy in place. Make your employees aware that you will be working with them and ACC to help them return to work, even gradually. That way they know you mean business from the get go and they expect to come back to work.

Believe it or not you as their manager can have a lot of influence over how quickly someone recovers and returns to work. This goes for both work-related and non-work-related accidents and injuries. Statistics show the more involved the employer is in getting someone back to work, the faster they will recover. On a basic level, if you allow someone to take as much time as they want, then they will.

So, how do you get involved?

  1. Keep in touch with your employee as much as possible, even if it’s just to check in and say hello. The more visible you as an employer, the more of a consideration you will be when it’s time to make decisions.
  2. Keep your foot on the gas pedal and keep track of medical certificates. Make sure they are up to date and do not lapse. Keeping on someone’s tail about their paperwork shows you mean business.
  3. Ask ACC to come in and complete a workplace assessment with an Occupational Therapist. Don’t be shy to give ACC a list of other work your injured employee can do as light duties. They don’t have to come back to their job straight away if they can be productive elsewhere. This is a way to keep them in the routine of getting back to work.
  4. Create a return to work plan with ACC’s occupational therapists; Think about reduced hours, other duties, modes of transport to work (if they need a taxi, ACC will provide one), and any equipment they may need.

The sooner you get onto this the better. Leaving an employee for weeks without talking to them about a return to work plan will make getting them back into the workplace that much harder. Set expectations early!

See here for more information: https://www.acc.co.nz/for-business/managing-employee-injuries/work-with-us-to-get-your-employee-back-to-work/