Each year in Australia over 100,000 workers compensation claims are lodged, and more than 12,000 of those belong to employees who work in construction. Return to work after an injury can be a slow process, especially if access to medical appointments or specialist services is delayed.
Michael Stoddart, head of injury management for Lendlease Australia, which employs thousands of workers across the country, says safety is paramount. “At Lendlease, the health, safety and wellbeing of our people, is a guiding principle,” Stoddart says. “If someone is injured, even if at 3am, we want them to get support quickly so they can book medical appointments, get access to services from trained medical staff and have follow up all within an appropriate timeframe.”
Around the clock support
The EML Mutual Benefits Program was used to establish a priority care early intervention triage service for injured Lendlease workers. This early intervention project began in July 2016 and was aimed at ensuring injured workers, regardless of where they work or the time of day, could access early triage advice.
Injured workers have their follow-up appointments scheduled, and receive post-injury support. “The service offers 24/7 triage care, booking appointments like GP visits, scans and x-rays, as well as follow ups with workers and providers,” says Stoddart. “If someone is injured in Western Australia in the late afternoon, they can get medical help they need. All our employees are VIPs in the treatment network and we have found this usually means a quicker and more sustainable recovery period.”
The health and wellbeing and injury management teams at Lendlease say the early intervention project signals a shift to best practice for Lendlease. “When we started, our aim was to get immediate support for our workers, and support them to get back to work in a manner that was sustainable,” says Stoddart. “Without a doubt, that has been the outcome.”