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 Guidelines that apply, generally are:

Note: The previously published Second Edition of the Guidelines- external site- external site- external site- external site- external site, which was effective for claims with a date of injury on or after 23 August 2021, was revoked effective 1 August 2022. The Second Edition Guidelines only apply to injury date on or after 24 August 2021 where a worker had already selected their assessor prior to 1 August 2022 or they are partway through their assessment. Read more about significant reforms to the Return to Work Act 2014- external site- external site- external site- external site- external site that passed South Australian Parliament on 6 July 2022.

The degree of whole person impairment- external site- external site- external site- external site- external site 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- external site- external site- external site- external site- external site.

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- external site- external site- external site- external site- external site.

Impairment Assessor Accreditation Scheme Review

In 2023 The Minister for Industrial Relations and the Public Sector approved ReturnToWorkSA to undertake a comprehensive review of the Impairment Assessor Accreditation Scheme (IAAS) with the aim of establishing a clearer and more accountable IAAS that enhances the whole person impairment process for both the Permanent Impairment Assessor and injured worker.

Phase One

Phase one of the IAAS review occurred in late 2023 with ReturnToWorkSA actively seeking input from stakeholders, including Permanent Impairment Assessors, medical associations, claims agents, employer groups, and unions. Feedback was provided via face to face meetings, email, a dedicated feedback portal and a Permanent Impairment Assessor Forum at the Adelaide Pavilion, resulting in a substantial volume of insightful input. All received feedback was meticulously reviewed and considered.

The consensus among the majority of respondents acknowledged the imperative for reform within the existing IAAS. Several consistent and recurring themes surfaced, including:

  • advocacy for a continuing accreditation model for assessors, coupled with ongoing training and upskilling requirements to maintain accreditation;
  • an emphasis on fostering assessor capabilities, constructed around a supportive model of learning and development;
  • a call for a peer support program for assessors engaged in assessments and report completion.

Phase Two

Phase 2 of the review occurred in April/May 2024 where the views from the same stakeholders on a proposed first draft of an IAAS were obtained. This draft incorporated the feedback received combined with features consistent the aims of the review.

This phase has now been completed and ReturnToWorkSA is currently giving consideration to all of the feedback received.

Stakeholders will be given the opportunity to provide further feedback in a final round of consultation on a second proposed draft later in 2024.

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If you have any questions about the review, please contact Simon Hynes, Project Manager – Impairment Assessor Accreditation Scheme Review on or 0448 511 774.

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 the 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 or contact Injury Assessment Services on 08 8238 5960, if their details or circumstances change or if they wish to provide additional information, such as other languages spoken or country visit locations, so that this list can be updated.

Accreditation process

Impairment Assessors for the Return to Work scheme are accredited in accordance with the accreditation scheme (PDF, 380 KB)- external site- external site- external site- external site- external site established by the Minister for Industrial Relations in December 2018. The initial period of accreditation was 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2022. However, the end of the current period of accreditation was 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 and competency based assessment they are added to the list of accredited assessors, which can be found on this page.

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 or contact Impairment Assessment Services on 08 8238 5960.