Most people do not intentionally set out to get injured at work, so for a lot of people the decision to lodge a claim in the first place is not made lightly and is usually borne with the best intention, get treatment, get better, get back to work. Then, the system sets in. The employer questions the claim, there is a hold up getting into the GP and the Agent takes their time to make a decision. The delay it takes for the Agent to make a decision, often leads to delayed treatment which then leads to worsening of the injury. So, bang, right from the start the injured worker is feeling like they must justify their absence from work and exaggerate their injury or illness. This then becomes a mind game that can lead to deep psychological effects.
Workcover is an extraordinarily complex and challenging area. Each jurisdiction in Australia has its own legislation which complicates things further, especially so, given that Australian’s love to tell stories. How often do we hear ‘my sister’s neighbour over in Adelaide is on Workcover and she said…’ or the old ‘I saw Bob at the footy on the weekend, can’t come to work but can go to the footy’. The television stations who love to televise stories of people ‘ripping off’ the system. The Henny Penny’s that have never actually dealt with the system, love to tell stories. So, how do we stop this and remove the stigma?
The answer is not simple and requires support, honesty, and transparency. Moving quickly at the start of a claim can help with getting the required treatment as soon as practicable. Agents making speedier decisions and spending money on treatment rather than Independent Medical Examinations or surveillance would also help. Listening to and supporting injured workers, I believe will also help. For some injured workers, going to the footy on the weekend maybe the only thing getting them through their week. So, if you see your injured work mate at the footy, perhaps instead of spreading noxious gossip, try going up to them and having a chat. Ask them how they are going and what you can do to help? Who knowns, you may me that one person in your workplace to turn the whole team around, the reason Bob wants to come back to work. it only takes one person to make a difference.
Someone once said to me, 90% of people are honest, 5% are dishonest and 5% are opportunistic. The longer I work in the system, the more I believe this to be true. 90% is a huge amount so it is unfortunate most people make a judgement based on 5% of truth.
Take care everyone.
If you need help or assistance with anything return to work, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me, firstname.lastname@example.org