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Work-design focused Injury Management

Developing a work-design focused injury management process enables an employee experiencing mental illness to seek treatment and recover while undertaking appropriate and meaningful work.

The key component of a work design centered injury management process is ensuring the employee’s work tasks and conditions offer flexibility and accommodation while they seek treatment for their mental illness. The following strategies provide guidance for workplaces wanting to create a work design focused injury management process.

Train leaders and Human Resources personnel in using a work design-focused injury management process

To ensure legal compliance and provide an effective injury management process, leaders and Human Resources personnel should to trained in how to create and enact an injury management process which accommodates mental illness. Commcare, the Australian national workers’ compensation insurer and occupational health and safety regulator, offers a research based training course for employees in a supervisory role to increase their awareness, knowledge and understanding of injury prevention and management. This half day course provides attendees with of their legal requirements regarding injury management and the importance of their role is early intervention and actively accommodating an employee through the injury management process. The course also gives clarification regarding the stakeholders involved in injury management, strategies for providing a heathy workplace culture to assist the ill/injured employee and their coworkers through the process. Commcare can also tailor this training program to focused on specific issues impacting an organisation’s injury management process.

Commcare has developed an easy to follow guide for leaders and Human Resources personnel which provides an overview of their roles as well as highlights the roles of others in the injury management process for mental illness. This guide also offers research based advice for workplace’s to provide early intervention and support of mental illness.

Further reading

CommCare, the Australian national workers’ compensation insurer and occupational health and safety regulator, runs a training course for supervisors that provides a brief overview of a supervisor’s responsibilities under the WHS Act and SRC Act in relation to employees receiving workers’ compensation under the Comcare scheme, including early intervention, injury management and rehabilitation practices.

Further reading

CommCare also have a downloadable guide to early intervention in mental illness or injury – that helps recognise the warning signs and offer early support.

Creating a work design focused injury management process

A core feature of the work design focused injury management process is providing an employee experiencing mental illness with flexibility in their role, including tasks and work conditions, while they seek treatment and recover.

Heads Up, a non-for-profit association specifically focused on improving the mental health of Australian workplaces, give examples of flexible work practices leaders can make to accommodate an employee experiencing mental illness. It is important to remember that the following are suggestions and any changes to tasks and work conditions need to be made in consultation with the employee experiencing mental illness. Examples of flexible work practices includes:

  • Providing flexible working hours to enable an employee to attend appointments through either a workplace support program or their own private treating health practitioner;
  • Adjusting working hours and/or work tasks to accommodate the effects of prescribed medication;
  • Changing shifts or the location of the employee’s work;
  • Identifying and modifying work tasks that may contribute to the employee becoming stressed or overwhelmed, for example, dealing directly with customers.

Commcare has created a checklist containing the key features of a work design focused injury management system to guide leaders in developing and implementing an effective process.


Commcare have a checklist for early intervention in employee injury or illness.