SIRA launches new inspectorate focused on workers compensation return to work performance
SIRA has established a team of inspectors dedicated to improving employer compliance with injury management and return to work obligations.
The team of inspectors are targeting NSW employers through a range of compliance, enforcement and advisory efforts to ensure employers are meeting their obligations to support workers to recover or return to work after an injury
SIRA Chief Executive Adam Dent said that inspectors are targeting NSW workplaces based on a combination of workers compensation claims data and complaints.
“An inspector may visit a workplace for a variety of reasons, including if there’s a current or recent workers compensation claim, if SIRA identifies that a worker has a higher risk of a poor return to work outcome, or if SIRA has information that the employer may not be meeting its obligations,” Mr Dent said.
“We’re committed to doing what we can to promote and enforce compliance with the practices that we know underpin positive return to work outcomes.
“Our inspectors are educating employers in how to support workers to return to work after an injury, as well as issuing improvement and penalty notices where employer practices are not up to standard.
“SIRA inspectors have special powers to enter workplaces and issue on the spot fines and improvement notices where workers compensation obligations are not met. Non-compliance with improvement notices can lead to SIRA taking enforcement action leading to significant fines.
“Employers have a substantial impact on a worker’s recovery so our focus is on stamping out bad practices that can lead to a delayed recovery.”
Establishing a SIRA inspectorate is one of 10 actions that SIRA committed to in its return to work action plan to address poor return to work performance in the NSW workers compensation scheme.
Other actions SIRA has undertaken include implementing a return to work Standard of Practice, partnering with the Black Dog Institute to focus on return to work for people with a psychological injury, and establishing a service that makes outbound calls to workers at risk of delayed recovery.