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Early intervention


Early intervention is about identifying and responding to warning signs and reports of accidents and incidents in the workplace. Responding early often prevents a worker from becoming ill, taking long-term sick leave or submitting a workers’ compensation claim.

The earlier you notice a worker is experiencing potential signs of ill health or injury, the sooner you can take steps to help them. And that benefits not just the individual but the team as well, as it helps to maintain cohesion.

Business benefits of early intervention

Early intervention offers the following benefits:

  • Creates a productive and supportive workplace.
  • Shows management commitment to workers.
  • Prevents long-term absence from the workplace and the development of chronic illness.
  • Reduces any adverse affects on co-workers due to an injured colleague.
  • Improves staff confidence and morale.
  • Increases management involvement in the injury management process.
  • Increases the probability of return to work.
  • Contains the cost of incapacity and in the long term, the premium.
  • Reduces indirect costs to employers such as lost productivity, recruitment and training costs for replacement staff.

Effective early intervention also provides information for workers, case managers, approved rehabilitation providers, medical practitioners, and importantly, it improves injury outcomes for the worker.

Seven key steps in early intervention

  1. Make sure there are clear policies or guidelines in place to support employees that show early warning signs of not coping at work. This support should be provided regardless of whether the employee has submitted a claim or we have accepted one.
  2. The line manager should be aware of early warning signs and know how to respond appropriately (achieved through training, policy and guidance material).
  3. Make early contact with the employee to offer help.
  4. Get early and expert assessment to identify the employee’s needs.
  5. The employee and supervisor need to be involved in developing and agreeing to a plan to allow the employee to remain or return to work.
  6. If there is a psychological condition, make sure the employee has access to effective medical treatment and evidence-based therapeutic interventions.
  7. Provide flexible workplace solutions to support the employee at work
Page last updated: 06 Jun 2014