Return to Work
It is a program designed to help injured workers transition back to the workplace by performing meaningful work within their capabilities.You may hear it referred to as light duty, limited duty, modified duty, alternate duty or transitional work. It is intended to be a bridge back to full duty.
Why is a Plan Important?
It's a win-win for employers and employees alike. You win by keeping a valuable trained employee while minimizing workers' compensation costs. And employees typically recover faster, build self-esteem and reduce their financial loss of not working.
7 Steps to Creating a Return-to-Work Program
- Choose a medical provider. It's important to start a relationship with a provider before an injury happens. An understanding of the nature of your work speeds recovery.
- Select a liaison. Appoint someone at work to be the contact between employer, employee and medical provider.
- Identify major jobs and perform a job analysis that captures tasks and physical requirements of each job.
- Video tape jobs. They may be useful to your medical provider.
- Create a physical assessment form that can be sent with an injured worker on every doctor visit. This important tool will help the medical provider determine if alternate work is realistic.
- Formulate alternate duty. In doing the above steps and noting which jobs are prone to injuries, you'll have a good baseline for the types of alternate duty you'll need. Start by meeting with supervisors and employee representatives to brainstorm ideas for alternate work. A second meeting can evaluate ideas. Once you have a finalized list, modify on a case by case basis to accommodate physical limitations.
- Keep lines of communication open. Communication is the key factor in the success of your return-to-work program.
Share Plan With Your Employees
Give all new employees a copy of the return-to-work policy. Reinforce your belief in the program and your sincere desire to make it work.