Zurich Financial Services's commercial business unit has launched a workplace injury programme that it believes will make traditional stand-alone employers liability insurance a thing of the past.

The new programme couples employers liability insurance with a health and safety risk analysis of the workplace. It also manages the return-to-work process for injured staff members.

Zurich said the programme was different from any other workplace management programme as it was the first to offer a rehabilitation service for employees injured outside of the workplace.

Roger Thrift underwriting and marketing director of Zurich's commercial business unit said: "There is a real need for workplace injury programmes. Compared to other industrialised countries, the UK has one of the worst records for helping injured people back to work.

Thrift said that injuries at work were estimated to cost emloyers eight times the amount of any compensation award.

He added: "Companies spend a fortune on trying to find ways in which to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

"One of the best ways of achieving this

is by reducing the risk of accidents happening at work and pro-actively helping injured members of staff with their rehabilitation, regardless of where they were injured."