Navigation:  Getting the team onside >

Committed management: Making the case for best practice RTW

Print this Topic Previous pageReturn to chapter overviewNext page
Show/Hide Hidden Text

Bearing in mind both the costs of poor injury management and the benefits of understanding these costs, there are four ‘cases’ that should be put to management when arguing for best practice RTW systems.

1.  The business case

Of these, the business case packs the most punch.

In order to make the business case effectively, it is important to understand and quantify two things:

1.The costs of work disability; and
2.The benefits of an effective injury management program.

In other words, management need to see a cost / benefit analysis of injury management.


The costs of work disability comprise:

Direct costs such as the Work Cover premium, any wages not covered by the premium, and other costs, for example health and safety fines; and
Indirect costs such as staff replacement, supervisor time, and administrative time.In order to get a proper estimate of the cost of a system, indirect costs must be factored in. The indirect costs of work disability are estimated to be four times greater than the direct costs.



An effective injury management system will:

Reduce costs;
Improve staff morale;
Free-up supervisors to concentrate on productivity; and
Improve customer service through better staff engagement.

Research shows that best practice injury management systems save money and have better organisational outcomes.

bullet_bookFor more information about calculating the costs of poor injury management, see:

Putting a price on injuries: direct and indirect organisational costs


2.  The ethical case

The ethical case for best practice injury management states that organisations have an obligation to support staff with an injury. It ties in with the notion of corporate responsibility: a responsible organisation cares for its workers in times of increased need.

The ethical case also has business implications. For more information about how caring for employees reduces cost see:

tipbulb   Care minimises cost


3.  The corporate image case

Corporate image matters. Failures of the injury management system can have a huge impact on internal and external perceptions of an organisation. Preventing injury whenever possible, and managing injury (including compensation) well when it does occur, will improve an organisation’s standing with both employees and the wider community.

Case study A 57 year old, well respected and liked sales manager develops “work stress” after the introduction of new sales software. He spends up to three hours each evening trying to enter the newly required information. At about the same time his doctor advises him that he has high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and is at risk of heart problems.

His doctor marks him off work for a week. No one from his company calls to check how he is because they are not sure how to respond after receiving a ‘stress’ certificate.

Weeks go by, and the temporary sales manager shrugs his shoulders and continues to tell customers he is not sure what is going on. Sales suffer. Some of the customers have known the sales manager for over ten years and are concerned about his well being. They get a sense he is not being looked after, and their customer loyalty is lost after a few months. Coworkers see the lack of company care, as do neighbours and friends of the sales manager. The company’s reputation suffers.


4.  The legal case

Employers are subject to a general duty of care for their staff. Under current legislation, employers are expected to offer injured workers return to work. Regulators do assess employer performance, and prosecutions for not offering return to work programs are on the rise.


flag_green      Many organisations don't spend the time it takes to engage senior managers in the organisation's return to work systems.  
Making the case to the senior management team can be one of the most cost effective ways of improving an organisation's systems.