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Many employees and employers are aware of workers’ compensation plans and when they are applied. An employee is injured on the job and the recovery costs are covered by the employer. But what many may not know is that there are programs for getting workers back on the job after an injury.

 

These programs serve to assist the employees with the transition after time off and can include such procedures as reduced workloads and alternative job tasks during injury recovery.

 

According to the United States Department of Labor, “Effective return-to-work approaches can help employees work while still recuperating, protecting their earning power and boosting an organization's output. Furthermore, in many instances, work itself plays an important role in the recovery process” (source).

 

Why Your Employees Need A Program

For your employees, it’s important to maintain their position on the job for several reasons:

  • Often, workers are afraid that they will be replaced or that someone else will fill their role in the workplace. Keeping them in the loop and on the job can alleviate these worries.

  • Money becomes a big concern when employees are on an unpaid leave—and add that to any additional expenses incurred from an injury. Working with them on the job so that they can still earn their wages is absolutely crucial.

  • Returning to work after sustaining an injury can be physically overwhelming and mentally vexing. Without some coordination and assistance from employers, recovering workers are less likely to make a successful transition back to their jobs.

 

Why You Should Care About Having A Program

When employees are missing from the job, especially due to an injury, there are a few negative effects:

  • Morale declines. If an injury is serious enough to cause an employee to miss work for weeks at a time, any nearby employees can be “spooked” or hesitant on the job as a result.

  • Productivity declines. One missing gear in a complex machine can hinder its performance, and the same is true of a company’s workforce. Taking out one of your employees from the whole system can reduce efficiency and productivity.

  • Returning the employee to work is not always successful. You should take care with those returning to work to ensure that the transition is smooth and that employees can work toward transitioning back into their positions pre-injury.

 

Key Points From The Checklist Explained

This free downloadable checklist will help you to establish a program for employees returning to work after an injury.

  • Appoint a program coordinator. In order for a program to run successfully and consistently, someone needs to be in charge of enforcing policies and guiding employees through the processes.

  • Keep communication open. Especially for new programs, employees may have questions that need to be answered. By maintaining an open line of communication, you can encourage participation and helpful feedback from all employees involved.

  • Ease employees back in slowly. Trying to move too quickly can be extremely frustrating for recovering workers. Reduced hours can help to alleviate this stress.

  • Provide alternative tasks. Some employees may benefit from a lighter workload, especially if their jobs are physically demanding. Trying to accomplish too much too quickly can cause harm to the employees’ injuries.

  • Pair employees to “buddy up.” Whether in place of or in addition to a lighter workload, assigning a work partner to injured employees can increase the chances of a smooth transition back into normal work practices.

  • Create goals with the employee. Working with employees on establishing goals helps to gauge successful return to work and to adjust procedures in your program.

  • Offer training refreshers. Retraining on work operations that are specific to the employee’s injury can help to avoid additional injuries.

 

Download this free returning to work checklist today so that you can begin establishing a helpful program for your employees today.