Filling the Dark Spot – 15 injured workers share experience on workcover


A new enlightening research report by researcher Sarah Pollock, John Bottomley and Ann Taket has just been released by Creative Ministries Network. Sarah interviews 15 long-term injured workers about their experiences of the WorkCover system. All hoped the report would help to improve the system for others.

Filling the Dark Spot – 15 injured workers share experience on workcover

This report describes a harrowing journey for fifteen long-term injured workers. The worker’s identity as a valued ‘employee’ is deconstructed, then reassigned to become a person ‘failing to recover’, and finally a ‘WorkCover claimant’.
One of those interviewed for this report simply gave up on the system to avoid feeling like a terminal victim.

This report is about restoring a sense of humanity to the person who has been injured. One interviewee described her pain as a ‘dark spot’ that needed to be ‘filled’. How can workplace health and safety, compensation, rehabilitation, and work communities fill this dark spot and restore a sense of wholeness to those wounded by a work injury?

This is the urgent question that faces our legislators, employers, WorkCover administrators and insurers, rehabilitation providers and work communities. This study demonstrates how a range of very complex and confusing systemic and attitudinal factors bear down on the lives of these workers. Sadly, the trajectory of this burden can lead to mental illness…

Read this important report here>>

Importantly, the project makes the following recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1

Funding is sought for a pilot project to develop, trial and evaluate an intervention that utilises trained peer support workers in assisting injured workers’ recovery for life and work.

  • Recommendation 2

A course outline be developed, drawing on workers’ lived experience knowledge, for the professional development of WorkCover insurance case managers aimed at improving their ability to deal with traumatised and ill clients.

  • Recommendation 3

That injured workers and/or their representatives are included in future relevant research reference groups and policy development processes.

  • Recommendation 4

Further research is undertaken in relation to workers’ lived experience and what supports their recovery, including interactions with the WorkCover system. This research would deliberately target workers with serious physical and psychosocial injuries but who have recovered. This research could identify what was different in the workers’ experience and how they understand their experience.

The original article and report can be read on  The Creative Ministries Network’s website:


CMN is a charitable UnitingCare agency, inspired to embody the gifts of reconciliation, justice and healing, through serving people, families and communities suffering work-related harm, and by supporting and developing creativity at work for the common good.

Injured workers share their experiences of being on Worker’s Compensation

Filling The Dark Spot Report

You can also check out the launch speech from Rev. Prof. Brian Howe, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

Brian Howe – launch speech Filling the Dark Spot

Link to the report on the Deakin University Website

Read the report in “The Age”.


Thank you R for the source!

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It’s great to see this important research published on Australia Policy online (APO). ‘Filling the dark spot: fifteen injured workers shine a light on the workers compensation system to improve it for others’ Executive summary The Creative Ministries Network (CMN) provides support to people affected by workplace injury and work-related death. Over the last fifteen years CMN has undertaken a number of projects examining the relationship between work and suicide. These earlier studies highlighted a gap in the research into work injury and compensation in relation to workers’ mental health.[1] Existing research has concentrated on examining the health and/or return-to-work… Read more »