Helping injured workers get back on deck

10-08-2010

A WorkSafe VIC program to help injured workers get back to work could help solve Australia’s skills shortage.

A new WorkSafe register helps match employers’ job vacancies with qualified and experienced workers who can’t return to their old job after suffering a workplace injury.

The long-running WISE (WorkSafe Incentive Scheme for Employers) program offers generous incentives to employers who provide ongoing employment to people who have been hurt at work, but who cannot return to their old job.

The Director of WorkSafe’s Return to Work Division, Dorothy Frost, said workers were particularly sought in the trades, finance, property and community services. 

“All you need to do is register for WISE online, describe the sort of work you have available – not necessarily full-time – and some information about the job”.

Before starting a job through WISE, an assessment can be performed by an occupational rehabilitation expert to ensure that the duties are safe for the worker to perform. This reduces any concerns new employers may have.

Ms Frost said the WISE program is a good option to fill long-term gaps in the workplace, given the serious skills shortages in some sectors.

“Most of the 28,000 workers injured at work in Victoria each year return to their old jobs quickly, but some cannot go back to their old job or employer, said Ms Frost.

“We want people who’ve been hurt at work to return to the workforce as soon as it’s safe to do so and, through the WISE program, we can help match jobs with people who are skilled, experienced and keen to work.”

WISE pays the new employer up to $26,000 over 12 months. In the unlikely event that the person is hurt again in the new workplace during the first year, the new claim is not included in the calculation of their WorkSafe Injury Insurance premium. 

“Many people have considerable work capacity and want to get back into the workforce. “WISE helps them move into new jobs, as well as assisting employers to build their business,” Ms Frost said.                                                        

For more information visit: worksafe.vic.gov.au/wise.

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