23rd September 2022 – (Hong Kong) The Labour Department (LD) today rolled out the Pilot Rehabilitation Programme for Employees Injured at Work (Pilot Programme), targeting injured construction employees. The Pilot Programme provides prompt private out-patient rehabilitation treatment services to participating injured construction employees, with a view to facilitating their early recovery and return to work.
The three-year Pilot Programme is mainly funded by the Government. Participants only need to pay the same fees as public hospitals/public clinics for receiving private out-patient rehabilitation treatment services. They can also claim reimbursement of the medical expenses from their employers in accordance with the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance (ECO). Participants will each have a designated person to follow up their rehabilitation treatment and return-to-work arrangements. The rehabilitation treatment services they can receive include medical treatment (provided by general practitioners/family physicians, orthopaedic doctors or occupational physicians), physiotherapy, occupational therapy and imaging examination services.
An LD spokesman said, “The Pilot Programme is beneficial to both injured construction employees and employers. Injured employees can receive rehabilitation treatment services early, preventing work injuries from developing into chronic conditions. The early recovery and return to work of employees can also help maintain productivity.”
The Government has engaged Actmax Limited, a subsidiary of Human Health Holdings Limited, to implement the Pilot Programme. The organisation, in collaboration with its strategic partner, CUHK Medical Centre, has established the Work Injury Rehabilitation Office (WIRO) to provide the multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment, case management and return-to-work arrangement services of the Pilot Programme under the supervision of the LD.
Injured employees must meet the following criteria to participate in the Pilot Programme:
- their work injuries happened on or after 1st September, 2022;
- they were engaged in the construction industry at the time of the work injury;
- they sustained a musculoskeletal injury as a result of the work injury or contracted a musculoskeletal occupational disease prescribed under the ECO; and
- they have been absent from work for six weeks or more, or are expected to be absent from work for six weeks or more because of the work injury.
The LD will, based on the reported work injury cases, preliminarily identify suitable injured construction employees and contact them to introduce the Pilot Programme. Injured employees must undergo a clinical assessment by a case doctor to ascertain that their injuries are suitable for treatment under the Pilot Programme.
The spokesman reminded that employers should comply with the requirement of the ECO on reporting of work injury cases to the LD as soon as possible, so that the LD can contact and arrange for eligible injured construction employees to join the Pilot Programme early and receive rehabilitation treatment.
For details of the Pilot Programme, please visit the dedicated webpage of the WIRO (www.prp-wiro.gov.hk) or call 2293 7000.