Return to work after workplace injury: Injured workers, insurers and employers

Louise Thornthwaite*, Raymond Markey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Returning injured workers to work is a central object of contemporary workers' compensation systems. Injured workers' interactions with insurers and employers are critical to achievement of timely and sustainable return to work outcomes. This article explores the interactions of injured workers with insurers and employers through analysis of their perceptions and experiences. The focus is on experiences with the NSW Workers Compensation scheme since 2012. To frame this analysis, the article proposes a model mapping these interactions, the relationships involved, the health, social and vocational consequences, and the return to work outcomes. The research found not only that the NSW Workers' compensation system is failing to deliver a timely and durable return to work for many injured workers, but also that, for many, problematic and often pathogenic interactions with employers and insurers are resulting in exacerbated and secondary injuries and negative social and vocational consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-115
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Insurers
  • Return to work
  • Workers' compensation


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