WODONGA has been ranked the No. 1 Victorian region at getting injured workers back into the workforce.
Figures released by WorkSafe yesterday showed during a three-year period, 410 workers in Wodonga had injury claims lasting more than 10 days.
Of these, 341 made it back to work within six months, giving Wodonga a return to work rate of 83.2 per cent.
Macedon Ranges ranked second with 82.4 per cent, while Wangaratta came in fifth place with 81.6 per cent.
During the past five years in Wodonga, 30 per cent of all workplace injuries were in manufacturing, 14 per cent were in health care and aged care, while 7.7 per cent were in construction.
In the same period, almost 56 per cent of all injuries in the Wodonga workplace were musculoskeletal injuries involving breaks, dislocations, strains and sprains.
The figures were released to coincide with a major campaign by WorkSafe, launched this week, to highlight the health benefits of injured workers returning to work when it is safe to do so.
WorkSafe assistant treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips said new statistics showed the longer that injured workers were off work, the more likely they were to require psychiatric and psychological help.
“New data shows injured workers who remain off work one year after their injury are six times more likely to access mental health treatment than injured workers who went back to work after a month,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
“In 2012, 5 per cent of injured workers who were off work for at least four weeks sought access to mental health treatment.
“After six months off work, 18 per cent sought access to mental health services and after a year off work, 30 per cent of injured workers had sought treatment for mental health.
“This campaign aims to highlight that returning to work as soon as it is safe to do so can be an important part in the injured worker’s recovery.”
WorkSafe chief executive Denise Cosgrove said it was not just the injured person’s own determination to get back to work that counted.
“The role played by family and friends, employer, doctor and other medical professionals is crucial in the return to work process,” Ms Cosgrove said.
Ms Cosgrove said the longer an injured worker was away from work, the less chance they had of getting back to work.