Dr Mary Wyatt | Competencies supervisors need to affect positive RTW outcomes for workers suffering musculoskeletal conditions and mental health conditions.
Injured workers perceive their supervisors as integral to the return to work process. While their participation is vital to successful RTW outcomes, many supervisors receive little or no competency-based training on how to better administer to the needs of injured workers returning to work. A recent study titled "Supervisor Competencies for Supporting Return to Work: A Mixed-Methods Study" published April 2014 sought to identify the competencies that supervisors need to affect positive RTW outcomes for workers suffering musculoskeletal conditions (MSD) and mental health conditions (MHC). more >>
Dr Mary Wyatt | A cost analysis
John Shervey is a US-based safety and vocational rehabilitation consultant. We’ve exchanged ideas with John for a few years. John has a strong focus on practical interventions that influence supervisors. He’s given us permission to use a tool he’s developed to influence supervisors and the workplace. Workplaces often respond to cost implications. John’s graphic outlines the difference between the costs of an injury when there is tension at the workplace, versus when there is support at the workplace, BEFORE the injury. more >>
Gabrielle Lis | Supervising return to work ain't easy...unless you've read our latest top ten!
The first conversation is vital. What you do at the time of injury – before the employee has even left the workplace – has a huge impact on how the whole RTW process plays out. Always acknowledge the injury or problem, ask for the employee's input, and be proactive about encouraging medical care where appropriate. Don’t play the blame game. Instead, focus on what the organisation can do to help the worker. more >>
Anna Kelsey-Sugg | RTW Matters interviewed 57-year-old 'Sally', who went straight back to work after sustaining a shoulder injury. We learn what helped - and what didn't.
RTW Matters interviewed 57-year-old 'Sally', who went straight back to work after sustaining a shoulder injury eight years ago. We learn what helped (and what didn't) in her return to work journey, and how she continues to manage her injury and maintain her job. When Sally's GP recommended she take 6 months off work following a shoulder injury, her response was “No way! What would I do at home? Stare at the wall and feel depressed? If I stay home, I'll just die,” she said. more >>
Francesca McSteen | Workers care about support and respect in the workplace and notice whether health and safety are management priorities.
Take Home Messages: Workplaces are complex social systems affected by administrative policy, yet also highly influenced by front-line supervisors and colleagues. To create a healthy work-place, a healthy ‘micro-work’ environment with positive aspects such as respect and support is very important. Workers’ views and perceptions of work organisation are important and useful in facilitating changes to make a better work environment. more >>
Researchers may have identified key genes linked to why some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others, according to a study. “Our study is quite significant because it provides an objective way to understand pain and why different individuals have different pain tolerance levels,” said study author Tobore Onojjighofia, MD, MPH. “Identifying whether a person has these four genes could help doctors better understand a patient’s perception of pain.” The researchers found that the DRD1 gene variant was 33 percent more prevalent in the low pain group than in the high pain group. Among people with a moderate pain perception, the COMT and OPRK variants were 25 percent and 19 percent more often found than in those with a high pain perception. The DRD2 variant was 25 percent more common among those with a high pain perception compared to people with moderate pain. “Chronic pain can affect every other part of life,” said Onojjighofia. “Finding genes that may be play a role in pain perception could provide a target for developing new therapies and help physicians better understand their patients’ perceptions of pain.”
If you are trying to quit smoking one method to incorporate is to do new, exciting “self-expanding” activities that can help with nicotine craving. “Our study reveals for the first time using brain imaging that engaging in exciting or what we call ‘self-expanding’ activities, such as puzzle-solving, games, or hobbies with one’s partner, appears to reduce craving for nicotine,” said Dr. Aron. “The self-expansion activities yielded significantly greater activation in a major reward region of the brain, which is associated with addictive behaviours, than did non-expanding conditions. This suggests such activities may be a major new route to help people reduce the desire to smoke.”
A new study in the analysing weekly patterns in health-related Google searches reveals a recurring pattern that could be leveraged to improve public health strategies. Investigators analysed "healthy" Google searches (searches that included the term healthy and were indeed health-related, e.g., "healthy diet") originating in the U.S. from 2005 to 2012. They found that on average, searches for health topics were 30 percent more frequent at the beginning of the week than on days later in the week, with the lowest average number of searches on Saturday. "Many illnesses have a weekly clock with spikes early in the week," said SDSU's John W. Ayers, lead author of the study. "This research indicates that a similar rhythm exists for positive health behaviours...The challenge we face in public health is to help people sustain healthy behaviours over time. Since Monday comes around every seven days when people are 'open to buy' health, it can be used as a cue to help create healthy habits for life."
Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organisational psychologist Kevin Eschleman and colleagues. Creative pursuits away from work seem to have a direct effect on factors such as creative problem solving and helping others while on the job, said Eschleman. The study examined whether creative activity might have an indirect impact on employees' performance by providing them with a way to recover from the demands of their job, by restoring them through relaxation, increasing their sense of control, or challenging them to lean to new skills that can be transferable to one's job. "It can be rare in research to find that what we do in our personal time is related to our behaviours in the workplace, and not just how we feel...A lot of organisations carve time out where they talk about physical heath and exercise and eating habits, but they can also include in that a discussion of mental health and the importance of recovery and creative activity," he said.
GIO Workers Compensation has seen a “significant decline” in complaints against them made to the NSW Claims Advisory Service since introducing more active communications claims advisers, Insurance Business Online reports. The improvement has been attributed to "increased focus on speaking directly to stakeholders to explain the claims process can produce better outcomes and reduce complaints from claimants." Paul Smeaton, executive general manager statutory claims with Suncorp Commercial Insurance said: “The six months from January to June 2013 saw a 50% drop in the number of times the Claims Advisory Service was being contacted in relation to GIO managed claims. The subsequent six months from July to December 2013 saw a further drop of 23%. “The experience of GIO Workers Compensation is that regularly talking to injured workers so they know what’s going on, results in better outcomes for everyone.”
The number of WorkCover claims for mental stress coming out of NSW Police have more than halved over the past two years, News.com.au reports. The number of officers filing mental stress claims fell from 4.86 per 100 officers to 2.16 over a 24-month period, helping lower premiums for NSW Police by 30 per cent. Police Minister Mike Gallacher overhauled the death and disability scheme in 2011. “That policy has been successful, it has resulted in fewer claims being made for mental stress according to the NSW Police Force annual report,” Mr Gallacher said. “I’m happy the new scheme is sustainable and is keeping police on the job, which was always our aim.”