Osteopaths work with state and territory workers’ compensation agents, private insurers, employers, and other health practitioners to help injured clients return to work.
Role of occupational health osteopaths
- To assist in recovery from a workplace injury;
- To prevent long-term workforce absence or disability;
- To provide manual therapy, if appropriate to facilitate your recovery;
- To provide instruction and strategies to safely manage activities, gradually resume pre-injury tasks or improve work-related functional skills, where appropriate;
- To prescribe exercises to improve your conditioning for work-related tasks, where appropriate.
Occupational health assessment
An occupational health assessment may include:
- An assessment of your work capacity and the impact of your workplace injury;
- A clinical review of how treatment might improve your ability to undertake workplace tasks;
- An assessment of circumstances that led to your injury. This may include biological, psychological, and social contributing factors, the requirements of your work role, and other characteristics of your workplace;
- Development of a return-to-work plan to meet the requirements of your worker’s compensation injury management scheme and your rehabilitation goals;
- Discussion of modifications, equipment or adjustments that may improve your prospects of successfully returning to the workplace;
- Discussion of your eligibility for ongoing entitlements under your worker’s compensation scheme and where limitations may apply;
- Discussion of recovery timeframes, symptoms or sensations associated with your injury, referring to medical advice, work-related reports, and your individual history;
- When appropriate, discussion of alternative work roles or a career change and any associated skills needed in a new workplace.
Main components of an osteopathic occupational health program
Osteopaths also offer advice on return-to-work strategies suited to your circumstances, including:
- Appropriate duties;
- Environmental modifications;
- Hours and tasks appropriate to your rate of recovery;
- They may also assist you in managing further injury risks and adjusting your work practices to recover at work.
Can osteopaths provide referrals relating to occupational health?
Osteopaths can refer you to other health professionals. They work with case managers and others to coordinate injury management, return-to-work planning or if advised by a treating medical practitioner.
Some osteopaths also provide advice to stakeholders in workplace settings often on a corporation-wide level. These osteopaths provide on-site task analysis, develop site-specific injury management protocols and provide education on manual handling techniques. They also offer ergonomics assessments and perform task-oriented tests to prevent workplace injuries, plan workplaces better and improve efficiency in task completion.