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What does good workers compensation and recovery at work practices look like?

  • have a current workers compensation insurance policy that reflects the nature of your business
  • update your insurance policy when your business grows or changes
  • provide information about how to notify an injury and make a workers compensation claim, including the name and address of the insurer, so it is always available to your workers
  • keep a record of all work-related injuries or illnesses in a register of injuries
  • notify your insurer of all workplace injuries within 48 hours
  • notify SafeWork NSW immediately on 13 10 50 if there’s a death, serious injury or illness, or potentially dangerous incident
  • have a return to work program that describes the steps you will take if a worker is injured in line with the SIRA guidelines for workplace return to work program
  • maintain contact with your injured worker and support them to ‘recover at work’
Easy to do
work health and safety

Keep your policy up-to-date*

You must have a workers compensation insurance policy that is right for your business. It must reflect the number of workers, wages paid to workers, and the type of business you run. If your business grows or changes over time, you must update your policy.

Where do you get a workers compensation insurance policy?

You can obtain a workers compensation policy that is right for your business through a licensed insurer.

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) is the government organisation responsible for regulating the NSW workers compensation system. For more information, visit or call 13 10 50.

Provide information to your workers about how to notify an injury and make a workers compensation claim*

Let your workers know what to do and who to contact if they get injured at work.

Provide the name and address of your insurer and the name of the person who manages recovery at work in your workplace.

Make sure this information is always available in your workplace, either electronically or by using the If you get injured at work poster.

Where to get the poster?

The poster is included in the templates and tools section of this toolkit.

Create a return to work program*

A return to work program outlines your procedures for handling work-related injuries and illnesses. It is your commitment to the health, safety and recovery of an injured worker.

You must have a return to work program within 12 months of becoming an employer and it must be developed in consultation with your workforce.

You must provide a copy to your workers upon request.

It must be aligned with the insurer’s injury management plan, written in plain English and reviewed at least every two years.

For more information,download a return to work program template. Larger employers can use the SIRA checklist to tailor their return to work program to their business.

Set up an injury reporting system*

Keep a record of all injuries and illnesses – even minor ones that don’t need an insurance claim. Your register of injuries must include:

  • name of the injured worker
  • worker’s address
  • worker’s age at the time of their injury or illness
  • worker’s occupation at the time of their injury or illness
  • industry in which the worker was engaged at the time of their injury or illness
  • time and date of their injury or illness
  • nature of their injury or illness
  • cause of their injury or illness

Who do workers report an injury to?

Injuries and illnesses should be reported to a:

  • supervisor
  • manager
  • health and safety representative or health and safety committee
  • return to work coordinator

What must you do?

Train your workers to use your injury reporting system and make sure they understand it.

When a workplace injury or illness occurs, you must:

  • provide first aid immediately
  • make sure the injured person gets the right care, including emergency transportation if necessary
  • tell your worker to let their health care provider know they were injured at work
  • record the details of the injury or illness in your register of injuries
  • let your insurer know about the injury or illness within 48 hours
  • call SafeWork NSW immediately on 13 10 50 if there is a dangerous incident, or if the injury or illness is serious or results in death

Report injuries and illnesses to your insurer

When reporting an injury or illness to your insurer, you will be asked:

Who did it happen to?

The worker’s name, address, contact telephone number, date of birth and position at the workplace

What happened: an overview?

Description of the injury or illness and details of how the incident happened

When did it happen?

Date and time

Where did it happen?

Incident address

Details that describe the specific location of the incident – e.g. section of the warehouse or the equipment that the incident involved

How and where are they being treated (if applicable)?

Name of the treating doctor, contact telephone number or name of the hospital

Name of the business owner?

Legal and trading name

Business address (if different from incident address), ABN/ACB and contact details including phone number and email

What has/is being done?

Action taken or intended to be taken to prevent recurrence (if any)

Who is notifying?

Notifying person’s name, contact number and position at the workplace.

Name, contact number and position of person to contact for further information (if different from above).

When the injury or illness has been reported to the insurer, you will be given a case number. Make a note of this number and give a copy to your worker.

Give your workers suitable work*

Stay in touch with your worker after injury

You, your health and safety representative, or return to work coordinator should have regular contact with the worker following their injury or illness.

Stay connected and focused on their recovery and return to work.

Suitable work must be provided when your worker is unable to return to their usual duties immediately. Outline these tasks in a recover at work plan.

What is a recover at work plan?

Together with your worker, plan the tasks they can perform safely until they can resume their pre-injury role. This is known as a recover at work plan.

You must:

  • understand what your worker can do
  • consider the worker’s current work capacity/ability, medical advice and individual situation

Your worker’s treating doctor will assess what they can do safely and will provide a certificate of capacity/fitness. Review the certificate with your worker to have a good understanding of their health and ability.

Identify suitable work

When the worker can return to work, give them suitable tasks that will help with their recovery. Try to find tasks that are comparable to their pre-injury duties. Also consider:

  • changing their hours of work
  • modifying their duties
  • giving them a different job
  • providing training opportunities
  • a combination of the above

It’s important to focus on what the worker can do, not what they can’t.

Develop a plan

The tasks and hours in the recover at work plan are often increased gradually as the worker recovers, use the SIRA recover at work planning tool.

Give a copy of the plan to your worker and their doctor.

*Some questions may not apply if you are a sole trader, unless you engage with sub-contractors, labour-hire workers, volunteers, work experience, etc.


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Templates and tools

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