Physiotherapist and patient talking with rehabilitation equipment in background

Impairment assessment

An impairment assessment is undertaken if a worker has a permanent impairment resulting from a work injury. When the work injury has stabilised, the worker's case manager will discuss referral to an accredited impairment assessor.

Impairment assessors are medical practitioners that are accredited under the Accreditation Scheme established by the Minister for Industrial Relations. Their role is to assess injured workers and prepare assessment reports in accordance with the relevant edition of the Impairment Assessment Guidelines to determine:

  • whether the injury has reached maximum medical improvement
  • whether the worker's injury has resulted in an impairment
  • whether the impairment is permanent
  • the degree of whole person impairment resulting from the work injury.

The edition of the Guidelines that applies is dependent on the date of injury for the relevant claim being assessed, as follows:

Date of injury on or after 1 July 2015 to 23 August 2021:

Date of injury on or after 24 August 2021:

This document outlines the main clauses that changed from the first to the second edition of the Guidelines:

The degree of whole person impairment suffered by a worker will determine whether they are entitled to weekly payments after two years of incapacity and ongoing medical and like expenses and will be significant in determining their access to lump sum payments for economic and non-economic loss.

Further information about impairment assessments is detailed in section 22 of the Return to Work Act 2014.

An electronic copy of the Impairment assessment report template for physical and psychiatric assessment, which is mandatory to use, is available on our Impairment assessor news and resources page.

Accredited assessors list

A sortable list of currently accredited assessors is available for download. In this list you can select which body systems the assessor should be accredited in for assessment of the relevant injury/ies. You can also choose how the list is ordered. Please ensure that you read the instructions carefully before creating and downloading the list. Please use the following link:

This list is regularly updated as details change and assessors complete their accreditation requirements. Assessors should email wpi@rtwsa.com if their details or circumstances change.

Accreditation process

Impairment Assessors for the Return to Work scheme are accredited in accordance with the accreditation scheme (PDF, 380 KB) established by the Minister for Industrial Relations (the Treasurer) in December 2018. The period of accreditation is 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2022.

The end of the current period of accreditation has been extended to 30 June 2025. During this period we will periodically review the needs of the scheme and invite assessors to apply for accreditation where required.

Eligible applicants who are approved by the Minister are then invited to complete the South Australian Impairment Assessor Training modules relevant to their application, which provide education in the application of the Impairment Assessment Guidelines. Once the applicant has successfully completed the training they are added to the list of accredited assessors.

Applicants (aside from Psychiatrists) are strongly encouraged to complete training in the American Medical Association Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th Edition (or 4th Edition for Visual System) to support their learning.

If you have any questions regarding current assessors or applying to become an assessor, please email wpi@rtwsa.com.