Lori Boys | If an organisation has a workers' compensation function that needs to be managed in-house, how can you build the right team?
When designing a RTW, claims and/or injury management team (and ‘team’ for the purposes of this article could be one person or several) a number of factors should be considered. These can include but are not limited to: Legislative requirements – what are the minimum legislative requirements that must be met? The size and type of organisation – is it a heavily regulated or high risk industry; a small company or a self-insurer? Resourcing - how many staff do you really need? Financial and human capital – what’s your budget and do you already have staff that ‘fit the bill’? Who to recruit – can you source internally or externally? Organisational culture – who will best fit your industry and culture? Starting from scratch First item on the agenda – consider and understand the legislative requirements that dictate what must occur in certain circumstances i. more >>
Stefanie Garber | Building social capital costs little but the potential benefits are priceless.
Increasing the levels of trust in the system could save millions of dollars in compensation, rehabilitation costs and lost time. Lydia works for a furniture store, Couches R Us. The staff have a great relationship with their manager Carlos. He takes safety seriously; once a month, all staff attend a safety refresher session. One day, as Lydia lifts a futon, she feels pain shoot through her lower back. more >>
Dr Mary Wyatt and Stefanie Garber | Workers' compensation is plagued by low trust levels - increasing goodwill in the system could boost return to work rates.
An injured worker refuses to attend an appointment. The claims agent loses important paperwork. The surgeon never answers your emails. If this unhelpful behaviour would sour your mood, you’re not alone. Research into reciprocity suggests that people respond to others’ actions with grander acts of a similar kind. Buying someone a glass of wine may prompt them to bring a whole bottle of Merlot on the next date. more >>
RTWMatters team | Static or declining return to work seen in most Australian jurisdictions, with improving return to work results in New Zealand.
This article collates the headline return to work results across jurisdictions participating in the Return to Work Monitor. Further information regarding the Return to Work Monitor is below the graphs. The graphs below show the return to work rate and the durable return to work rate for each jurisdiction. The return to work rate is the percent of workers interviewed who say they have been back to work for at least a day between the time of their claim and the time of the interview. more >>
Friyana Bhabha | If a sense of workplace control is linked to good health, how can it be fostered?
Take Home Messages: Employee health is positively associated with a sense of workplace control and social support. Interventions that help improve a feeling of workplace control include: The formation of employee committees to identify workplace stressors and methods to reduce them; Individual health promotion; Interventions to increase employee physical activity or reduce stress through meditation; and Ergonomic interventions. more >>
Researchers report that a single, 20-minute session of Hatha yoga significantly improved participants’ speed and accuracy on tests of working memory and inhibitory control, two measures of brain function associated with the ability to maintain focus and take in, retain and use new information. Participants performed significantly better immediately after the yoga practice than after moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for the same amount of time. “Yoga is an ancient Indian science and way of life that includes not only physical movements and postures but also regulated breathing and meditation,” said Neha Gothe, who led the study while a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Gothe now is a professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at Wayne State University in Detroit. “Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise in the U.S. and it is imperative to systematically examine its health benefits, especially the mental health benefits that this unique mind-body form of activity may offer,” said Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Edward McAuley.
In four out of ten cases, long-term stress suffered by women leads to some form of physical complaint. The experience of stress was highest within the 40 to 60 age range, and those women who were stressed were more often single and/or smokers. Among those women who reported stress, 40 percent had psychosomatic symptoms in the form of aches and pain in their muscles and joints, 28 percent suffered from headaches or migraines, and the same proportion reported gastrointestinal complaints. “Even when the results have been adjusted for smoking, BMI and physical activity, we can see a clear link between perceived stress and an increased incidence of psychosomatic symptoms,” says Dominique Hange, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
Employees who face high emotional demand and conflicting roles are more likely to report psychological distress—placing them at higher risk of mental health disorders and reduced productivity, reports a study in the June Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Perceived role conflict and emotional demands were "the most important and most consistent risk factors" for psychological distress. Problematic levels of distress were 53 percent more likely for workers reporting role conflict and 38 percent more likely for those facing high emotional demands. Other risk factors were low job control, bullying/harassment, and job insecurity. "We estimated that one-fourth of employee psychological distress was attributable to self-reported adverse work-related factors."
A new study demonstrates a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers' sleep, activity and quality of life. Compared to workers in offices without windows, those with windows in the workplace received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night. There also was a trend for workers in offices with windows to have more physical activity than those without windows. Workers without windows reported poorer scores than their counterparts on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality, as well as poorer outcomes on measures of overall sleep quality, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances and daytime dysfunction. "The extent to which daylight exposure impacts office workers is remarkable," said study co-author Ivy Cheung.
A US study into the effects of time limits on welfare benefits may have implications for workers' compensation schemes with similar systems. U.S. workfare programs have been praised by some for cutting welfare rolls and improving the economic well-being of families. But little is known about how these policies affected participants' health and mortality. Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health studied enrollees in Florida's Family Transition Program who were given a time limit for welfare benefits and exposed to job training. They were compared to a control group who received traditional welfare benefits. In this randomised controlled trial, the researchers found that participants in the Family Transition Program had a 16 percent higher mortality rate compared to recipients of traditional welfare. This translates to nine months of life expectancy lost for people in the experimental program.
A new study suggests that U.S. businesses pay almost $6,000 per year extra for each employee who smokes compared to the cost to employ a person who has never smoked cigarettes. Researchers say the study is the first to take a comprehensive look at the financial burden for companies that employ smokers. By drawing on previous research on the costs of absenteeism, lost productivity, smoke breaks and health care costs, the researchers developed an estimate that each employee who smokes costs an employer an average of $5,816 annually above the cost of a person who never smoked. These annual costs can range from $2,885 to $10,125, according to the research.