Be Sensitive - Getting an Injured Employee Back to Work

Written by on 4/17/2017 2:13 AM in , , , . It has 0 Comments.

It's a well-understood fact, getting employees back to work is a great way to manage workcomp insurance expenses. But are you pushing too hard?

Changing the Tide
Of the 70-80% of companies engaged in return-to-work programs, many are pushing these programs more aggressively in recent years due to their benefits: BLS data shows declines in virtually all major occupational injury and illness rates. OSHA shows these programs, combined with improved safety measures and more rigorous care, have put the brakes on runaway costs. Since the mid-1980s, more and more workers are returning to work before fully healing, engaging in restricted work regimens with temporary assignments, shortened hours, and job modifications. But how soon is too soon?

Pushing the Limits
With the ever-growing push to get people back on the job, controversy has arisen with emotional pitfalls-a-plenty. ‘Aggressive’ and ‘early’ return-to-work programs alongside ‘light-duty’ assignments are causing workplace brouhahas, to be replaced with more PC, less emotionally-charged verbiage and procedures.

Ensuring a Smooth Return

  • Proactively devise - and refer to - written policies for return-to-work procedures, understanding that they take time. Educate all managers, supervisors, and employees on the return-to-work policy and expectations.
  • Sell supervisors/management, who can make or break programs, and must understand the return on investment versus lost time and financial drains effecting job security.
  • Be careful not to seemingly ‘harass’ workers in your efforts to control costs.
  • Choose meaningful (not coddling or embarrassing) transitional assignments – and don’t devise them last-minute.
  • Ensure all parties, from the employee to their physician and supervisor, are on-board.

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