The average time from injury to rehab and return to work services is 90 weeks.


Rehabilitating injured workers or referring them to a rehab service as soon as possible following a work injury (or illness) is crucial, according to the authors of an Australian study of 95,470 injured workers. The report found that the average time from when an injury occurs to when return to work or rehabilitation support is sought is a whopping 90 weeks, or just under 2 years.

A Konekt Market Report studied 95,470 injured worker referrals to Konekt between the period ofJuly 2008 and June 2013.

The Konekt report found the average time from when an injury occurs to when return to work or rehabilitation support is sought is a whopping 90 weeks.

Konekt’s head- Matt May- says the 90-week average is “really alarming“.


The report also found that Victoria and South Australia have the longest delay between injury and referral at 112 weeks, while Queensland has the shortest at 34 weeks.

Konekt states the following:

“Compare workplace injury to sporting injuries – if a professional sportsperson is injured, the help they receive is immediate”

“So why can’t it be the same for workers?”

Early referral to rehab means (more) successful return to work

The Konekt report states that of the 11,649 compensable referrals to Konekt to return an injured or ill worker to work, 94% of workers referred within the first 6 months after their injury successfully returned to their job.

This success rate dropped to 82% if the referral was made more than 1 year after the injury.

If the referral was made after 2 years, the success rate dropped to a low 68%.

This study highlights that employers (and therefore workcover insurers) should consider returning injured workers to work as soon as the injured worker is able, but provide the injured worker with proper rehab support. This is regardless of whether the injured worker has filed a workcover claim or not – the fact of the matter is that many companies / bosses are more reactive than proactive, and generally wait until a formal claim or complaint has been made before acting. How true!

The report also says

a “key factor in achieving successful return to work outcomes is the length of time the person has been ‘disabled’ due to their injury prior to being referred (to rehab services)”.

“As well as providing improved return to work outcomes, early referral results in a lower average rehabilitation service cost, with the average cost incurred per successful return to work being significantly lower.

“Early referrals also result in a decreased period of rehabilitation services.

More importantly, the report states:

“For compensable referrals this is particularly important, as research suggests that exposure to the compensation system, and specifically duration of exposure to the compensation system, has a negative impact, so the less time people spend in the system, the greater the likelihood of better health and return to work outcomes.”



How long did you have to wait to be referred to appropriate rehab services? Let us rephrase this: hoQuestion_whyw many times did you have to beg your case manager for a referral to a rehab service provider to assist with your return to work? Was your boss proactive in helping you at work, e.g accommodating your workplace, buying you a couple of ergonomic tools, a better chair for your back perhaps? Do you feel you could have returned to work earlier, or could have stayed at work, had you been taken care off? Did you (also) aggravate your injury because of the lack of rehab support in the workplace?

3 Responses to “The average time from injury to rehab and return to work services is 90 weeks.”

  1. Take this information with a pinch of salt I was sent to konekt twice both time I was told I was not suitable for my old job. But instead of helping me find a job all the RTW agent wanted was to make WorkCover happy. She used the phrase I can’t suggest that because WorkCover will not like it. So instead I got branded a troublemaker and got no help at all. After I got my hand of all of my RTW reports (4 all saying the same). I found out that my employer was not being shown them instead beginning given a WorkCover version of events which said I could return to my full job, despite the opposite being said in all medical reports and the RTW report, just another example of WorkCover using there control over the system to make it tolally corrupt

    befuddled in cairns June 3, 2014 at 8:12 am
  2. I was allocated a RTW provider very early in my claim, 5 months or so, had an assessment and was then denied the provision of software and training to enable me to continue working, I have battled until March this year, some 2 years 4 months after the accident, but my hours had been diminishing over that period.
    One would think that given my occupation they would have made every attempt to keep me working. I have had to resign my agents registration now due to the inability to keep my CPE up to date and keep my work load constant.
    I found it was the constant kicks that led me to taking my case to a lawyer. Had “they” provided me with the proper tools and assisted with the recommendations, I could have still been working at the job I loved. I have paid out over $4000 in improvements to suit my injury and ran out of funds. Sold my car to to fund some of it and pay for some medical that was denied.

    • Urgent require help ! A friend has been sent to IPAR in qld for occupational rehabilitation and has been treated appallingly . He has requested copy of his file but has been told yes then told no . Is this an entitlement and do WC in Qld have a choice of providers ? . He only just turned up to an appt time and the Ipar employer phoned him from outside the door to say Ipar had stuffed up the dates . They couldn’t even give him the courtesy to open the door and speak face to face !!! OMG