Special Topics in Safety Management

7 Steps for Getting Injured Workers Back on the Job

When an employee is out of work due to an injury or illness, it’s in everyone’s best interest to get that person back on the job safely and as soon as possible..

For employers, an effective return-to-work program can reduce workers’ compensation costs and improve employee morale and productivity. For employees, returning to work can help them feel engaged and useful and motivate them to participate in an active recovery from injury.

Steps for Success

  1. Develop a return-to-work policy to ensure a consistent approach.
  2. Establish a central point of contact for the injured employee. This can be someone from the safety department, a human resources professional, or a dedicated return-to-work coordinator.
  3. Contact the injured employee and start an interactive process. Express your personal concern for the employee’s health and well-being. Describe the return-to-work process or let the employee know that someone will be in touch promptly with essential information about getting the case filed. Stay in touch and be available to answer the injured worker’s questions, or find someone who can.
  4. Provide information to the treating physician about the injury and the job. Include details about the incident, the employee’s job description and specific requirements, and your return-to-work policy.

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  1. Research and evaluate possible accommodations, keeping in mind the needs of the employee and the organizations. Consider options like part-time, telecommuting, modified work duties, providing time off for medical appointments, and implementing reasonable accommodations. Share this information with the employee and, working with human resources and other appropriate departments, recommend a reassignment.
  2. Establish a timetable for return to work.
  3. Encourage and support the employee’s recovery. Talk with the treating physician about adjusting restrictions as the employee’s condition improves. Continue to communicate with the employee, the physician, and other relevant departments throughout the recovery process.

Keep Your Workers on the Job

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