Physiotherapist and patient talking with rehabilitation equipment in background

Impairment assessment

Whole Person Impairment Assessments: COVID-19

Notice for assessors

Following the announcement of the lifting of restrictions on Monday 26 July 2021 by the South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall, ReturnToWorkSA now supports the resumption of Whole Person Impairment assessments as of Wednesday 28 July 2021.

Recommencement of referrals is subject to assessors:

  • being available and willing to carry out whole person impairment assessments;
  • observing the necessary infection control requirements and risk mitigation strategies; and
  • using appropriate personal protective equipment during physical examinations.

It should be noted that, from 1 December 2020, all people in health care settings have been required to wear a mask while in the physical presence of other people. This includes the assessor, the administrative staff and the patient.

While ReturnToWorkSA and our claims agents will take every precaution in referring workers for assessment, assessors should continue to ensure workers are appropriately screened before commencing any physical assessment as part of your practice’s standard risk management process. Clearly no worker or assessor may be compelled to undergo or conduct a permanent impairment assessment. Workers who, for personal reasons, do not wish to proceed with an assessment of their permanent impairment at this time will suffer no adverse claim consequences. The decision to proceed will be completely up to them.

For assessors interstate who continue to be impacted by travel restrictions, please note that ReturnToWorkSA does not support the assessment of physical injuries via telehealth at this time.

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 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, 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.

If you have any questions regarding current assessors or applying to become an assessor, please email