Impairment assessment

Whole Person Impairment Assessments: COVID-19

The practicality of continuing to conduct impairment assessments in person has become increasingly difficult to reconcile with the guidance from the Federal Government to all Australians to stay home unless for a small number of essential exceptions.

In the interest of public safety and to ensure adherence with government-issued guidance on precautions required to limit the spread of COVID-19, ReturnToWorkSA will temporarily cease referrals for WPI assessment effective 2 April.

ReturnToWorkSA will seek to resume mental injury impairment assessments through appropriate technology-based mediums as soon as the necessary conditions for appropriate conduct of these assessments can be established. Whole Person Impairment Assessment for physical injury requires a physical examination and is less amenable to being conducted remotely. The potential for resumption of physical injury assessments will be reviewed on an ongoing basis as developments occur and formally by 30 June 2020 to determine the practicability of resuming in a safe manner that does not unduly compromise the integrity of the assessments.

Assessors with existing referrals should conduct their own risk assessment of whether it is safe to proceed and complete the assessment as per the methodology required by the Impairment Assessment Guidelines. This assessment should include a discussion with the worker as it is important that workers do not feel their safety is compromised with being asked to attend. No one should participate in an assessment that they believe is compromising their safety.

ReturnToWorkSA will publish further information as it relates to next steps and conditions for telehealth conduct of impairment assessment for mental injury claims over the coming days.

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 Impairment assessment guidelines   (PDF, 1194 KB) 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 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 now 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

The accreditation process for Impairment Assessors for the Return to Work scheme is currently closed.

Impairment Assessors for the Return to Work scheme are accredited in accordance with the accreditation scheme (PDF, 348 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.

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