Tips for Helping Your Employees Get Back to Work Safely Following an Injury
If you have ever had an employee who has needed to take time off due to an injury, you know how difficult it can be for the entire organization. Not only is there a loss of productivity as far as having an absent worker, but it can also affect the entire team as your other employees can feel stressed about taking on additional duties and worried about their co-worker.
When the employee is ready to come back to work, it is your duty as an employer to take every reasonable step in helping them to get back to work safely. For this it is essential, that you have clear policies and procedures in place.
A Return-to-Work Plan is a tool that helps injured employees transition back into the workplace. It is something that can be used to help employees return more quickly – and this means that it can reduce the length of your business’s workers’ compensation claims.
The benefits of having a Return-to-Work Plan include:
- Reduced absenteeism.
- Better productivity for your business.
- Improved employee morale.
- Reduced costs associated with workers’ compensation.
A Return-to-Work Plan should include your Return-to-Work policy, employee care, and a modified workplan for the injured employee.
Return-to-Work should begin before an injury ever occurs. Your company should have a clear community policy for helping injured employees come back to work. The policy should explain who is responsible for what when an injury occurs. It should outline policies for reporting injuries, committing to medical attention, and expectations for both workers and management.
It is important that as an employer, you keep the lines of communication open when an employee has been injured. Your employee care package may include several documents such as:
- A letter to the employee – this expresses your concern as well as requests that certain information be returned to you within a short timeframe. It may also let the employee know that modified work duties are available to them while they recover.
- A letter to a healthcare provider (doctor, physiotherapist, etc.) – this is to communicate information about your company’s RTW program. It also lets them know that they may be asked to provide information about the employee’s ability to safely perform modified duties.
- Physical demands analysis form – provides details on the physical requirements for various positions at your workplace. This can be provided to healthcare providers so they can assess what the worker may be able to do. (Ideally the physical demands of each position should be identified before an injury occurs, so that these forms are ready when you need them).
- Physician assessment of Return-to-Work – this is a form that is filled out by medical professionals with information relevant to an employee’s ability to return to the workplace. It provides details about their ability to perform various duties as well as limitations they may have during their recovery.
Modified Work Plan
With the information you receive from your employee and their healthcare providers, you should be able to develop a modified work plan of duties that your employee can do safely. Depending on the nature of their injury, this may include lighter duties, a modified workspace, reduced hours, etc. The goal is to get them integrated back into the workplace as quickly and as safely as possible.
Contact TeksMed today!
Although employees and healthcare providers are essential to the RTW process, having a safe and successful return to work program starts with employers. If you need help with the Return-to-Work process, contact TeksMed today to speak with a member of our team.