The five best pieces of advice I have ever heard for Injured Workers.

Over three years I have heard (and said) nearly every piece of advice for injured workers from nearly every source.

Here are the top five.

Keep a diary, keep a record. 

From the very beginning injured workers receive a large number of documents, letters and phone calls. No one else will be remembering what they have said to you or what information is relevant to you and your situation. It is up to you to keep track of this. 

Keeping a diary and a folder are essential to do this. Write down when you made or received a phone call with a brief description of what was said gives you something to rely on as time goes by and (especially with insurance case managers) people change.

Make sure you pay attention to any letter you receive about your claim or your injury. This is because you will be expected to respond to it and with some that response is not only important but constrained by time.

Get help if and when you need it. 

You cant get a handle on everything that is going on. Talk to your doctor about a strategy to manage the insurance work, talk to your union about managing the whole claim and read up as much as you can so that things don’t come as a surprise.

this applies to your injury and recovery as well. Your doctor/s should be the first call for that advice but be aware of what is happening to you and what you are feeling. Talk to a psychologist or counsellor if it is getting on top of you- they help you to cope with it. See a pain specialist to cope with the pain.

Sign into our website (front page) and make it a bookmark so that you know when new information comes up.

Make an appointment with a financial counsellor to help you cope with the loss of income that invariably comes with a workplace injury.

Talk to a lawyer for legal questions, a doctor for medical questions.

Let your family and friends know what is happening and give them permission to tell you about what they see is changing with you (good or bad) and take those observations to a professional.

Look after your health

There is nothing worse for your health than an injury be it psychological or physical. Working to maintain your health pre-injury is near on impossible but making an effort not only helps your recovery but increases the probability of a positive outcome, even if you will never fully recover.

On top of this your health is the most important thing. More important than whatever the insurers are doing, or the lawyers or anyone else. The only person who has control of that is you. So make decisions based on your health. Seriously, even if we get everything we are asking for, your health is more important than that. so take care of it.

Get ready to be involved with the fight for a fairer workers compensation system. 

The more people pushing for change, the more likely that change will happen, don’t just say what is (insert name of activist, union, political party) doing to improve my lot. Ask how can I help change this for others and myself. Take your own action, call on your local MP, keep up the pressure. We have had some wins over the last five years but these were made because people like you became involved, not because we in the IWSN office were just brilliant at our jobs (we are not, we are just persistent).

Finally, Look after each other.

This means making contact with other injured workers and helping them as they help you. There are many similarities between someone injured at work and any other disadvantaged group. There is also one significant difference, that being the workers compensation system that tries to defeat the injured worker. Only other injured workers know what this experience is like, and only injured workers can properly provide that support.