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 :




Flair Office Furniture Logo
HFESA logo web
DSR 3 Program


Vicki recently commenced in the role  of Director of Compensation and Communication with WorkSafe Tasmania.

This was proceeded by two years as the Compliance Manager, overseeing investigative matters with the General Inspectorate

Vicki’s original qualifications and experience are as a Registered Nurse and Midwife.

After 15 years of hands on practice, she successfully undertook post graduate studies in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management, and Ergonomics.

She subsequently commenced practice as an OHS and Vocational Rehabilitation consultant, working in this capacity for almost a decade.

During that time she was an active member of TAVRP.

Following this, Vicki joined the then Workplace Standards Tasmania as an Inspector, and later worked as an Auditor with WorkCover.

Since mid 2005, Vicki has held work health and safety roles in various State and Local Government entities.

In her current role, Vicki is able to bring together these experiences in support of the new WorkCover Tasmania Board.

Symposium Introduction & Opening

Whilst the changing nature of work presents its challenges, so too does it opportunities.

And, although today’s emerging issues require increasingly innovative solutions, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fundamentals of what it is we do.

“Into the light” chronicles some of the positive work being undertaken in jurisdictions across the country in the challenging world of Occupational Rehabilitation.


Dr Genevieve Grant is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Monash University, where she is Co-Director of the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation. Genevieve has a PhD in public health and law, and experience working as an injury lawyer, in court administration and legal policy development in government. Her research uses socio-legal and empirical methods to investigate the impacts of compensation scheme design and change on system performance and claimant outcomes. She teaches across a range of areas including litigation and dispute resolution, health law and legal ethics. Genevieve is a graduate of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Strategic Training Program in Work Disability Prevention.

Session1: Navigating the work disability maze

Navigating the available supports is often challenging for injured workers and their networks. One source of this complexity is the sheer range of systems that respond to work disability. This presentation highlights recent research explaining this challenge. Additionally, it introduces ‘legal capability’ as a way to understand the skills and resources injured workers bring to the navigation task, and the ways they can best be supported.

Anne-Marie Dean is a Rehabilitation Counsellor with over twenty years of experience in the fields of Health & Human Services, Government & non-Government organisations and Education. Anne-Marie has developed this experience working throughout Queensland, Tasmania, as well as in the USA, Switzerland, England, Japan and Ireland.  Anne-Marie currently coordinates the post-graduate Counselling programs at the University of Tasmania.  She also provides EAP counselling and workplace mediation services throughout Tasmania. With a Masters of Health Science (Rehabilitation), she is also an Advisor to the Rehabilitation & Compensation Committee with WorkSafe Tasmania.

Session 1:  Workers Compensation Claims, Research and Practice

Can we do it better? A look at the new best-practice framework for managing psychological claims

Safe Work Australia and SuperFriend recently partnered to develop ‘Taking Action:

A best practice framework for the management of psychological claims in the Australian workers’ compensation sector’ aimed at improving claims experience and claims management.  The framework provides practical and evidence-based guidance to better support workers with a psychological injury or who are at risk of developing one.  Anne-Marie will discuss components of the framework, particularly related to her recent research within the Tasmanian workers compensation system, and how a focus on best practice claims management can support injured workers within the system.

Occupational Therapist with post- graduate qualifications in occupational rehabilitation, ergonomics and business.  Currently completing a Masters in Ageing in Society at Melbourne University with a specific interest in older adult workers and ageism.

Worked in strategic and operational roles in workers compensation insurance, occupational rehabilitation and occupational health both in Canada and Australia.  Has held numerous employer and committee positions including the Nominal Insurer and is a past chair of the Self Insurer’s Association of Tasmania. Currently the Manager of Wesfarmers Group TeamCover’s in-house self-insurance function in Tasmania.

When not at work you will often find her slowly renovating/ converting a heritage listed church in Derby (TAS) into a mountain bike retreat with family and friends.

Session 1:  Managing Complex Claims - Lessons & Trends From The Field

In occupational rehabilitation and workers compensation we often hear an injured worker’s claim referred to as “difficult” or “complex”.  But what is a complex claim and where does the complexity really reside?  As case managers, return to work coordinators and occupational rehabilitation providers, we navigate a landscape where multiple parties interact dynamically (and often non-linearly) to facilitate the timely recovery and RTW for an injured worker.  Its’ a tough gig and it appears to be getting harder as the very nature of work and employment contracts are changing, amidst a major demographic shift – population (and workforce) ageing.

This presentation examines current trends influencing complexity and then explores how case managers and rehabilitation providers are well poised to drive positive outcomes in this increasingly dynamic environment.

Angela has 20 years of experience as a researcher and management educator at 5 Australian universities. She obtained her PhD in Organisational Psychology at Griffith University in 2002.  She has led several large research projects funded by both industry and government in areas such as mental health in small businesses, creating and evaluating learning resources for leaders and managers on mental health at work, and understanding the prevalence and impact of workplace bullying in the Tasmanian Fire Service. Angela has also been a collaborator on projects with Victoria Police, beyondblue, the Tasmanian State Service, MONA, Worksafe Victoria and Tasmania. She has over 70 peer reviewed publications which examine topics such as workplace mental health, work-family conflict, workplace bullying, organisational change and other aspects of human resource management and organisational behaviour. In 2017, Angela has taken on a new direction in establishing Pracademia, a boutique consultancy business. Pracademia is focused on creating insights and applications for organisations from academic research and education, providing practical support to academics and universities and adding value to industry-academic partnerships.

Session 2: Workplace Mental Health

In this session Angela will cover the key elements of creating a mentally healthy workplace and discuss common work-related risks to mental health such as bullying and work stress.  Participants will work in groups to develop a deeper understanding of psychosocial risk assessment and management as well as share experiences of working with bullying and work stress claims. Angela will share recent research evidence and best practices.

Pamela-AtkinsonPamela has worked in work health and safety roles for over 30 years in Australia and the UK.  Time has been spent in the private and public sectors, research and consultancy.  Initially working as an occupational health specialist for large organisations, including British Nuclear Fuels and Rio Tinto, Pamela has managed to see a few things in her travels and is very interested in progressing the next era for work health and safety.  Understanding the assessment of physical, chemical and biological risks she has now turned her thoughts to the challenging issues of WHS culture, behavioural change and building better workplaces.  Pamela is currently facilitating the Better Work Tasmania program – a mechanism to improve better WHS outcomes across Tasmania.

Session 3: Promoting Mentally Healthy Workplaces 


Jennifer Long is a Certified Professional Ergonomist and an optometrist. Based in NSW, Jennifer is self employed as a visual ergonomics consultant and has had the pleasure of working in a variety of industries including offices, control rooms, retail, healthcare, manufacturing and transport, and has worked alongside ergonomists, physiotherapists, occupation therapists, engineers and architects.

In addition to her visual ergonomics business, Jennifer is a Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, UNSW. Her volunteer roles include Chairperson of the International Ergonomics Association Technical Committee for Visual Ergonomics and she is a past president of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia.


 Session 4: New technology, new ways of work

Note to participants: Please bring along some of your own mobile digital devices to work with during this session.

As a society we have become very reliant on digital technology. We have a wide variety of digital devices at our fingertips. We are no longer confined to using a desktop computer at a designated workstation. We can be connected to the world 24/7.

For some people, this digital connectedness comes with a physical cost: pain, discomfort and injury caused by awkward postures such as hunching over a smartphone or twisting to read information displayed on a poorly placed device.

In this interactive session participants will learn about the risk and hazards associated with new technology and new ways of work, discuss whether current visual ergonomics guidelines for workstations belong in the Dark Ages of work practice, and experiment with digital devices to help improve visual comfort.