Background The Victorian Injured Worker Outcomes Study (VIWOS) was initiated by WorkSafe Victoria in 2016 in collaboration with Monash University. The broad research focus was on understanding the recovery journey both prior to and beyond 130 weeks of income replacement, which is when a worker will cease receiving income compensation unless they can prove permanent incapacity.
Methods As part of VIWOS, the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) carried out a cross-sectional survey comprising 697 injured workers three to five years post-injury. It captured a snapshot of injured worker experiences and outcomes who were on average 1.4 years after cessation of income replacement.
Results The vast majority of workers had attempted to return to work with transient employment common. The best self-reported recovery rates were seen with those who left the compensation scheme due to return to work, and the poorest rates seen with those who were on the scheme longer. Those aged 55+ had the lowest rate of employment. A positive perception of recovery increased the likelihood of a reduced time spent on benefits. A negative perception of recovery was associated with self-perception as permanently unable to work, and others at fault for their workplace injury/illness. Financial hardship was experienced widely throughout this cohort, regardless of outcome.
Conclusion While many injured workers were seen as successfully recovering from their workplace injury or illness, this study highlighted the fact that many still perceived themselves as struggling, either from their injury or illness, in return to work and/or financially
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