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Disability management refers to the entire spectrum of activities that prevents work absence and disability. It is a broad concept, encompassing both injury prevention and injury management. Best practice organisations have comprehensive injury prevention and injury management programs.

Injury management is a process of assisting someone once an injury or illness has occurred. It includes approaches that assist with the management of a condition, as well as return to work management. Injury management aims to reduce work disability once injury occurs.

Experience has shown us that there’s a simple equation when it comes to returning people to work…

Good systems = Good results

While managing individual cases is important, the best way to promote good outcomes (while keeping your sanity and enjoying your job!) is to have workplace systems that work.

Creating a best practice work disability program requires an understanding of work injury management, and health and wellness programs, as well as strong project management skills. Broadly speaking, it involves four steps:

Designing a system that is suited to your organisation / workplace;

Implementing the system;

Checking that the system is functioning properly; and

Making changes to the system where appropriate.

A good understanding of the basics of RTW will give you a huge head start in both designing and implementing your best practice system.

This section of the handbook will help you get disability management systems up and running in your organisation!