"An injured worker who returns to work, returns to life" - Kathy's Sandvik motto

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Kathy Steffensen-Leigh started her career with Sandvik Mining as the company's sole payroll officer back in 1996. These days her focus is much less about pay packets, and a lot more about ensuring everyone has the opportunity to thrive back at work after an injury.

As Sandvik's workers compensation co-ordinator, Kathy has one key motivation: "Knowing that an injured worker who returns to work, returns to life!”

"When a worker is injured, it’s about rapid response from the team around them ... managers and supervisors and the EHS team," Kathy says. "But I also need to get involved as quickly as possible, so that I can help make appointments, as well as monitor and support."

Kathy’s role is to facilitate this rapid response, including accompanying the worker to Sandvik’s doctor or to the hospital, taking a company Blue Pack (which is an injured worker's pack with all the forms) and lodging the paperwork immediately.

"Within about 12 hours we get the claim number, which is passed directly to the injured person (often via SMS), so that when they go to their various treatments, such as physio, etc, they can provide the number and they don’t have to pay.

"This is what we are all about: getting our employees to the front of the queue and ensuring they have the professional help they require. We aim to get the treatment for the person as quickly as possible so that they can get back to work, and back to normality as soon as possible.

"You don’t want to be dumped and left to your own devices. You need to have somebody with you to make sure that you get well looked after, that you get home, that your family gets told. Doing that makes all the difference in the world," she says.

Based in Brisbane, Kathy agrees it's a huge role for one person.

"But behind me is a huge team of people. One of the best things about what I do is the support I get from my management team about the crazy ideas that I have, and how we can improve services for our injured workers."

Other great company initiatives:

Australian families often tell us what they really want (from mining companies). If you know of a great company initiative - either for employees or the local community - please tell us about it.