A Mobile Case Manager Addresses Safety Red Flags

As this story shows, our MCMs are equipped to recognise and address safety red flags affecting return to work.


We are thrilled to be preparing for the launch of our Recovery Hub in 2023, which will assist us in triaging and handling claims based on the level of severity. Recently, we commenced a pilot program called the Recovery Model Office (RMO), which will manage 600 claims using this method. Through this model, we provide tailored services for specific injuries and a high level of one-on-one case management when necessary. In cases that require a higher level of support, a mobile case manager (MCM) will take a hands-on approach to design a recovery pathway for the employee. Other professionals, such as a mental health consultant and a general practitioner, will be involved in this journey. The employee and employer will both benefit from their collective expertise.

Most importantly, we strive to get to the root of any issues to make sure injuries don’t happen again, as the following story illustrates—even when that involves making a tough call. These professionals can spot and address any safety red flags to ensure we’re not just managing the current injury—we’re improving the culture of safety in the company. The ultimate goal is to prevent future injuries while ensuring a full recovery.

Andrew, a 42-year-old plant operator sustained an injury to his shoulder. His mobile case manager (MCM) learned that he had suffered a secondary mental health injury as well. Andrew immediately underwent surgery on his shoulder, with an excellent prognosis for recovery.

While he recovered, the MCM investigated the causes of the mental health issue he was experiencing. The MCM held a case conference that brought these issues to light. In particular, the unfortunate breakdown in their relationship with his manager appeared to be provoking a high level of stress he was experiencing. It was apparent this had occurred as a result of Andrew’s consistent failure to adhere to and comply with safety protocols, impacting not only himself but the employees around him.

Within this process, the MCM strives to lay out a clear path back to work with the current employer. That’s the ideal outcome—and in most cases, a highly realistic one, with proper case management. But the ultimate goal is safety and wellbeing for the worker, coupled with minimized risk for the company. Our MCM and mental health consultant from our Mental Health Hub met with Andrew following the identification of his lack of adherence to protocols, and his general practitioner was also in attendance. It became clear that the relationship issues between the worker and employer would continue creating a barrier to a safe return to work. The worker expressed his disagreement with the need to comply with current safety protocols and procedures, and the MCM, therefore, deemed the relationship barrier with the employer to be insurmountable.

Permitting the employee to return to work under such conditions would promote an unsafe environment. So, the MCM secured job-seeking services to help Andrew find a new employer. Andrew demonstrated a high level of motivation and engagement in both treatment and the job search. He received mental health services in addition to the treatment of his shoulder. The early intervention for his shoulder injury assisted him in making a speedy recovery. Further, the MCM felt confident that he could excel in a new place of employment. As a result of the early identification of the requirement for new employees as well as his motivation, Andrew shortly secured full-time employment with a new company, working as a control room operator. He performed a full spectrum of duties in this new role and adhered to all safety protocols.

The path to success can look different in every situation, as this story shows. In the majority of cases, we want workers to return to their current employer that’s what everyone involved typically wants. But keeping an open mind, like the MCM in this story, will ensure the best choices are made. Occasionally, an unexpected choice proves to be the best course of action and making those tough calls will create a safer work environment for everyone: the worker, coworkers, and employer.

If you’re interested in learning more about GB's Government Services, reach out to Emma Hosking.

Emma commenced her career with ReturnToWork South Australia in 1993. Emma joined Gallagher Bassett in 2013 as GB’s Scheme Account Manager, South Australia, helping to lead GB’s successful South Australian start-up. Since then, Emma has been involved in many large government transition projects, including leading the development of GB’s award-winning Northern Territory operation and helping establish GB’s government operations for Comcare, Norfolk Island, icare NSW, and the Tasmanian DPFEM. Emma was a keynote speaker at the 2021 PIEF Conference, where she shared her experience and examined the importance of personalisation in contemporary government insurance schemes.

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