Dark Side Of Rehab Symposium Summary

The Dark Side Of Rehab 3 Symposium Was Held On Friday 31st May 2019

The Dark Side of Rehab 3 Symposium, TAVRP’s major PD event for the year, was held on 31 May at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, with 42 attendees,  9 speakers, 2 Sponsors and 5 Trades Exhibitors. TAVRP sincerely thanks Presenters, Sponsors, Trade Exhibitors and Delegates for the success of this event.Opening DSR3, Ms Vicki Tabor ( Director of Compensation and Communication, Worksafe Tasmania) reported on Tasmania’s RTW performance for 2018, as 92.2% of injured workers achieving a RTW ( compared to 92.7% national average), with Tasmanian data comparing closely with other states in many criteria. Amongst other data, the RTW data showed the proportion of Tasmanians who needed additional time off after the initial RTW was higher than the national average ( 23.7% compared to 19.6%) and 41.3% of Tasmanians reported pain lasting more than three months, the highest score of any jurisdiction and above the national score of 36.8%.  The presentation outlined Workcover Tasmania Board’s current activities relating to RTW in the areas of presumptive cause for PTSD in specific employment, Step Down Benefits for Police, and Age limited benefits.Mr Greg Matthews (Eastern States Manager CGU Workers Compensation Underwriting) in his presentation  “Workers Compensation: the Necessary Evil” outlined the Workers Compensation and WHS legislation journey over the past 3 decades from the infancy of the industry to the current status. Key points flagged were the need for stakeholders to work collaboratively,  the upward trend in stress and mental health claims, showcasing relevant of codes of practice, and the challenges of the future of work for the industry and legislative changes including industrial manslaughter.Ms Kelly McInnes (UTAS PhD candidate)  presented her Honours research of an exploration of workplace interactions for workers experiencing physical injury in the area of job accommodations, supervisor competency and employee stress and presented a  complex conceptual map of the detailed workplace interactions identified through her research. The research findings included: supervisor competency will positively affect job accommodations and RTW outcomes and negatively affect employee stress,  Job accommodations will positively affect RTW outcomes and negatively affect employee stress, and employee stress will negatively affect RTW outcomes.Ms Mylinda Purtell (Principal Solicitor Worker Assist) spoke on  “Assisting Workers to see the Light”, highlighting the mission of Worker Assist to provide a safe caring and supportive environment in which to provide knowledge and practical advice to injured workers.  Take home messages for assisting workers were the importance of good communication, providing correct information and explanation in plain English,  and empowering workers.

Anne Marie Dean ( AMD Consultancy)  presented an update on her research presented at Dark Side of Rehab 1 and 2,  in this presentation looking at worker experience with psychological injuries comparing jurisdictions. This presentation focussed on PTSD looking at the international and Australian perspectives. This presentation referenced key points of the Superfriend “ Taking Action “ Best Practice Framework for the Management of Psychological claims and the Phoenix report.  Prevalence of PTSD in occupational settings was presented, with claims data, and information on the recent changes to the Tasmanian Legislation for presumption of cause for specified employment types was presented.  Practice implications for working with injured workers with mental health injuries were summarised as needing decision making involving all stakeholders,  improvements in communications and claims management processes, compliance with the clinical framework, claims triage and early intervention and building resilience.

Report Launch – Tied in a Knot: The experience of long-term workers’ compensation claimants in Tasmania. (Authored by Anne Marie Dean, funded by Worker Assist). The report is the culmination of a qualitative research project conducted in Tasmania. Findings suggest that factors associated with ‘the Worker’ and with ‘the System’ can lead to negative experiences. The report outlines a number of considerations which could lead to more positive experiences for injured workers, as well as six recommendations for a stronger, client-focused approach within compensation systems.

Noni Byron (Chair SSG Workplace Engagement Committee for the Health Benefits of GoodWork)  delivered a presentation showcasing the Health Benefits for Good Work, under the umbrella of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The presentation covered the HBGW  campaign history and structure including the steering group committees, consensus statement, research and position papers, a good work tool, and future plans for HBGW. The presentation highlighted components of good work and work design, the model of good work quality, and provided examples of good work from signatories. The organization is growing with more than 300 signatories across Australia and NZ.

Adjunct Professor David Caple (Latrobe Uni, David Caple and Associates) presented on Ergonomics: Guiding the future of work 2020 and onwards: facing the challenges of rapidly changing work”. David explored the changes happening in work, what this means for WHS professionals, and asked how can WHS practitioners continue to add value.  He spoke of digital work as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Technology impacts, the CSIRO  Future of work study with the ascendency of the P2P marketplace, population health challenges for the workplace and discussed the recent Latrobe University Future of Work report.  Concluding remarks  gave 3 challenges for WHS professionals …. needing to tune into industry with a holistic understanding of the roles and needs of the workers,  transition from the focus on Zero Harm to  excelling  in Health Safety and Wellbeing including physical, cognitive and psychosocial demands, tune into KPI’s and focus OHS benefits towards these by broadening the approach to address health safety and well being at work and the  flexibility and adaptability of work.

Associate Professor Martin Mackey ( Sydney Uni)  presented his research with the Title Sedentary Behaviour at Work – Lessons from the past 5 years, Implications for practice and work design–  discussing trends, impacts and strategies from this research. Physical activity as a continuum/spectrum and the health benefits of physical activity were detailed including the 2012 Revision to Australian Physical Activity guidelines.  The presentation explored moving less, sitting more, trends in occupational sitting,  sitting oriented society, associations between sitting time and chronic disease,  and advocated individual, population and workplace interventions to address sedentariness,   with examples supported by the research literature. Organisational policy discussed included workplace physical activity promotion, walking as a workplace strategy, the effectiveness of incidental or sporadic workplace activity( 60-70 minutes per day) sit stand desks, and examples of  activity based workplace health promotion. Summary information provided in conclusion in relation to  workplaces was that activity permissive desks ( sit stand desks  in combination with a sit stand protocol ) reduced sitting time by 113 minutes per day,  whilst activity based work environments resulted in  14% less sitting time and 50% less back pain.


TAVRP sincerely thanks the Dark Side of Rehab 3 Sponsors :




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