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POL-G-041, Version 1.0, 7 August 2012

1. Title

Rehabilitation policy

2. Introduction

The National Museum of Australia (the Museum) is a major cultural institution charged with researching, collecting, preserving and exhibiting historical material of the Australian nation. The Museum focuses on the three interrelated areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture, Australia’s history and society since European settlement in 1788 and the interaction of people with the environment.

Established in 1980, the Museum is a publicly funded institution governed as a statutory authority in the Commonwealth Arts portfolio. The Museum’s building on Acton Peninsula, Canberra opened in March 2001.

3. Scope

This document outlines the Museum’s approach to rehabilitation and return to work for compensable and non-compensable illness and injury at the Museum.

The document describes the responsibilities of:

  • Assistant directors, Chief Operating Officer and senior managers
  • supervisors
  • employees
  • work colleagues
  • Safety and Risk Manager
  • Human Resources
  • Human Resources Advisor/Rehabilitation Case Manager
  • approved rehabilitation manager.

3.1 Description

The Museum has demonstrated a continuing commitment to workplace health and safety and to taking all reasonably practicable steps to control or eliminate hazards and to minimise any risks associated with the Museum’s activities. This commitment is fulfilled through the provision of a safe working environment, promotion of safe work practices and procedures, and training and educating employees at all levels.

This commitment extends to providing support for employees who have an injury or illness that is impacting on their ability to undertake their normal work duties, regardless of whether an illness or injury is work related or not. The Museum will provide suitable duties, where possible, in order to maintain the employee at work or to enable an early return to work.

The aim of this policy is to assist managers and employees to enable the ill or injured employee to return to their pre-injury/illness duties in their own workplace.

3.2 Purpose

The policy defines the responsibilities of Museum staff when managing illness and injury in the workplace, including outlining responsibilities under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, the Privacy Act 1988, the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

3.3 Rationale

A consistent management approach to illness and injury at the Museum will ensure better return to work outcomes for employees and the Museum, and ensure the Museum meets its legislative obligations.

4. Principles or guidelines

The focus of this policy on early intervention is consistent with Comcare’s publication Rehabilitation: Managing Return to Work – A Better Practice Guide for Senior Managers and Supervisors. Elements include:

  • an effective return to work (RTW) plan
  • skilled injury management through:

‒ knowledge of the injury

‒ proactive case management

‒ suitable duties

‒ continued consultation

  • supportive workplace culture where:

‒ there are ongoing employment options

‒ there are cooperative workplace relations

‒ there is a commitment to action

‒ the employee feels valued.

5. Definition of terms

Rehabilitation Authority

National Museum of Australia Is the employer and is also referred to as the Rehabilitation Authority. The Rehabilitation Authority carries delegations as specified under section 41(a) of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

Human Resources section (HR)

Refers to the Museum team responsible for human resource functions.


The delegate is the designated senior manager/s with the appropriate authorisation under the Public Service Act 1999 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) sub section 41(a). The Museum’s delegate is the person occupying the position of Director.

Health assessments

Health assessments are conducted by a medical practitioner and are used to determine the capacities and limitations of an employee’s ability at work, in their current or any proposed duties.

HR Advisor/Rehabilitation Case Manager

Means the person the Museum authorises to coordinate the rehabilitation program and RTW process on behalf of the employer. This will normally be someone in HR.

Medical practitioner

Is a person legally registered or licensed as a medical practitioner in a state or territory.

Approved rehabilitation provider

Means a health professional approved by Comcare under sections 34F, 34L or 34H of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 to provide rehabilitation services such as objective advice about an ill or injured employee’s needs, their workplace and duties.

Return to work (RTW) plan

Means the ill/injured employee’s plan for return to or maintenance at work, setting out goals, services to be provided, responsibilities and time frames (issued under section 37 of the Safety, Rehabilitation Compensation and Other Legislation Amendments Act 2007 (SRCOLA Act) for compensable cases).


Are the parties involved in the rehabilitation and return to work process. Typically these are the ill/injured employee, the HR Advisor/Rehabilitation Case Manager, the employee’s supervisor/manager, treating practitioners, the delegate and the rehabilitation provider.

Suitable employment

Is any employment which has regard for the employee’s medical restrictions, skills, experience, work preferences, and geographic location.

Museum volunteer

Is any person who has been engaged and inducted through the Museum’s volunteer program and is working in any area of the Museum.

6. Definition of responsibilities

6.1 Chief Operating Officer, assistant directors and senior managers

The Chief Operating Officer, assistant directors and senior managers are in a position to make a visible commitment to ensuring that the incidence of workplace injury, absenteeism and lost productivity are minimised. At the same time, it is crucial that when an injury or illness occurs, managerial commitment to effective and efficient case management is highly visible and that a proper process is followed.

To support this, all assistant directors and senior managers are responsible for:

  • developing and promoting a workplace culture that prevents injuries from occurring
  • showing commitment to effectively implementing and supporting the Museum’s Rehabilitation policy
  • developing and promoting a workplace culture that supports ill/injured employees regardless of whether the injury is work or non-work related
  • maintaining the confidentiality of employee records and medical information
  • monitoring changes in work health and safety performance reporting.

6.2 Supervisors

Supervisors have a critical role in ensuring the early notification of ill/injured employees, as well as providing assistance and support to these employees to enable them to return to work quickly and safely.

Supervisors also have responsibility for the day-to-day management of Museum employees who have sustained an illness or injury. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to:

  • be aware of and apply privacy principles when dealing with the ill/injured employee’s information
  • foster a supportive workplace which encourages safe work practices
  • ensure early reporting of workplace and other illnesses and injuries which may result in absence from the workplace or reduced capacity to undertake their normal work duties
  • advise HR/Rehabilitation Case Manager as soon as they become aware that an employee has sustained an illness or injury
  • ensure an incident report form is completed for any workplace injury and forwarded to the Safety Manager within 24 hours or 2 hours where a death occurs
  • ensure steps are taken to prevent further injury by understanding the causes of workplace illness and injury and putting in place suitable safeguards
  • obtain information regarding the workers compensation and the rehabilitation/RTW processes to assist them in talking with their staff in relation to the process and the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder
  • initiate and maintain ongoing communication with the ill/injured employee, particularly if the employee is absent from the workplace, as this will ensure that a connection with the workplace is maintained
  • be supportive and identify the assistance available to enable a return to work which will be coordinated by HR/Rehabilitation Case Manager
  • ensure the employee has access to relevant policies and forms as required
  • provide information to the Rehabilitation Case Manager on the injured employee’s pre-injury duties and, if appropriate, potential suitable duties to enable a safe and early return to work (s40 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988)
  • be involved in and contribute to the development of the RTW plan for the ill or injured employee and promptly let the HR/Rehabilitation Case Manager know if they, the injured employee or co-workers have any concerns along the way
  • after the injured employee has returned to work, consult with them to ensure this outcome is sustained.

6.3 Ill or injured employee

When an employee has sustained an illness or injury which is impacting on their ability to either perform their normal duties or their normal hours, they should:

  • ensure an incident/accident report form is completed within 24 hours, if a work related incident or accident has occurred
  • advise their supervisor/manager as soon as possible of their condition and its impact on their ability to perform their duties, likely period away from the workplace, and provide clear medical certification
  • inform themselves about the Museum’s Rehabilitation policy and Return to work after an illness guidelines (both available on the Museum’s intranet)
  • let their supervisor/manager or the Rehabilitation Case Manager know if they are going to be away from work due to their injury or illness, and an approximate length of absence (submitting a medical certificate if provided by the medical practitioner)
  • participate in an assessment of their ability to undertake a rehabilitation program to facilitate a safe and early return to work
  • talk with the Rehabilitation Case Manager about their obligations and rights regarding rehabilitation
  • actively participate and cooperate in their RTW Plan
  • talk with the Rehabilitation Case Manager, supervisor/manager or approved rehabilitation provider (if involved) if there are any concerns about the RTW plan
  • comply with medical advice
  • let supervisors know of any issues that may have an impact on their illness or injury at any time during the management of a RTW program.

6.4 Work colleagues

Work colleagues play a significant part in the successful rehabilitation of a fellow employee who has sustained an illness or injury. The Museum requires that they:

  • be aware of and apply privacy principles in dealing with the ill/injured employee’s information
  • inform themselves about the Museum’s Rehabilitation policy (available on the Museum’s intranet or colleagues may seek information from the Rehabilitation Case Manager)
  • actively support return to work principles
  • behave in accordance with the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct.

6.5 Manager Safety

Notification of an incident under the Work Health and Safety Act is separate to and distinct from making a claim for workers’ compensation under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988. In some situations an incident giving rise to a notification may also result in a workers’ compensation claim, however, the lodgement of a claim is separate to WHS notification. Employers must notify of any incidents that meet the notification criteria whether or not a claim for compensation is made. The Manager Safety will:

  • notify Comcare within legislated time frames where a serious injury or death occurs
  • liaise with Human Resources as appropriate
  • work to ensure workplace safety is maintained at all times.

6.6 Human Resources

Human Resources will:

  • keep informed of the Museum’s return to work performance by ensuring case management reports are received and by accessing performance reports that track the Museum’s claim costs/return to work outcomes and enable problems to be identified and resolved
  • review and improve the effectiveness of the Museum’s return to work strategies as appropriate
  • seek funding to support a RTW plan where appropriate
  • ensure the Rehabilitation policy is up to date and accessible.

6.7 Human Resources Advisor/Rehabilitation Case Manager

Rehabilitation case managers are responsible for coordinating the RTW process for ill or injured employees. Their key function is to ensure that the RTW process is carried out in accordance with the Museum’s Rehabilitation policy, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 and Safety, Rehabilitation Compensation and Other Legislation Amendments Act 2007 Act.

The responsibilities of the Rehabilitation Case Manager include the following:

  • initiate, co-ordinate and monitor the rehabilitation process in consultation with all stakeholders, including the Museum delegate, supervisor/manager, injured employee and treating medical practitioner/s
  • ensure that all stakeholders are aware of and understand their role and responsibilities in relation to the RTW process
  • decide if a referral for a health assessment or an assessment for a RTW plan is required, particularly when an employee is likely to be away from work for more than 10 days and coordinate this assessment (for compensable cases under s36 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988) in consultation with the Museum delegate and ensure all stakeholders are appropriately informed
  • coordinate a RTW plan, if necessary, in consultation with the ill/injured employee, treating practitioner, the supervisor/manager and the Museum delegate
  • where an approved rehabilitation provider is engaged to assist with the RTW plan, assess, select and actively manage the provider to ensure a quality and cost effective program (s37 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988)
  • ensure that any decisions made about a rehabilitation assessment or RTW plan are provided in writing to the employee
  • liaise with the supervisor/manager and, where appropriate, the approved rehabilitation provider to make sure the injured employee has access to suitable employment
  • make sure that the Museum is advised appropriately and complies with any rehabilitation guidelines issued by Comcare
  • enable the Museum to exercise delegations for approval of employee’s vocational rehabilitation under the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 and applications for periods of personal leave during the RTW plan.

6.8 Approved rehabilitation provider

The approved rehabilitation provider is responsible for providing expert objective advice about an ill or injured employee’s needs, workplace or duties. The approved rehabilitation provider is employed by the Rehabilitation Case Manager and will:

  • comply with Comcare’s criteria and standards for approved providers
  • provide advice to the Rehabilitation Case Manager to assist the early, safe and sustained return to work of the ill or injured employee,
  • provide a prompt response to referrals and other requests.

7. References

7.1 Legislative framework

The legislation that relates to the management of ill or injured employees includes:

8. Implementation

The Manager Human Resources represents the Museum in managing the implementation of this policy.

8.1 Coverage

All Museum staff and volunteers.

8.2 Other related policies

The following Museum policies, staff circulars and guidelines should also be referred to in relation to this policy:

  • home based work guidelines
  • Staff Circular – SC 013 Approval for outside employment
  • Health and Safety Management Arrangements April 2011.

8.3 Exclusions


8.4 Superseded policies


8.5 Monitoring

This policy is monitored regularly by the Chief Operating Officer and the Manager Human Resources and will be reviewed in February 2014.






Version date

7 August 2012


General operational

Executive approval date

2 April 2012


10/19 – NMA Rehabilitation policy 2010 & 12/545


Public & all staff


Compensation, employment, injury, illness, Work Health and Safety

Responsible officer

Manager Human Resources


New policy

Review date

August 2012

Related documents

Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) policy

OHS Risk management policy and plan

Home based work guidelines

Approval for outside employment, Staff circular – SC 013

Health and Safety Management Arrangements September 2011


National Museum of Australia GPO Box 1901 CANBERRA ACT 2601

Tel: (02) 6208 5000



Approved originally by Executive Management 2 Apr 2012
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