The quicker an employee comes back to work following an on-the-job injury or illness, the lower the costs associated with workers' compensation.
Of course, efforts to have such an employee return to work must consider the safety of the employee. Rushing an employee back to work before he or she is ready is contrary to good management.
What Can Employers Do to Insure the Safe Return of Injured Workers?
Many employers have had success with light duty for workers suffering work-related injuries. Imagine a factory worker who injured his back on the job. Following a back surgery and physical therapy, the plant brings back the employee. Instead of putting him back to work at his old job, he works on quality inspections of finished projects. He can often remain seated. This is light duty work. The employee gets his wage, workers' compensation insurance ends, and the company has the injured employee back at work performing valuable work. It is a winning situation for everyone.
Employers may have an employee undergo a medical examination before returning to work. This may include both physical and psychological components. This type of exam can usually only take place if the following conditions exist:
- The employee's medical condition may prevent the employee from performing key aspects of their jobs.
- A return to work by the injured employee makes for a direct threat to their own safety or the safety of others.
- Local law allows for physical exams
Return to Work Programs
Nearly 80% of companies having programs in place to get workers back on the job. Starting in the 1980s, the use of these programs began to accelerate. Today, many companies use RTW to lower workers' compensation insurance expenses.
RTW programs are often a means to bring employees back to work as soon as possible. The benefits, in addition to keeping business insurance costs down include:
- Keeps communications open between employer and employee. This is a key factor in the employee’s recovery
- Allows a valuable skilled and experienced employee to remain in your workforce
- Reduces loss of productivity
- Lowers expenses incurred training a replacement employee
- Lessens the risk of a re-injury
Besides light-duty protocol, other ways injured employees come back to work safely include:
- Part-time work
- A different job during recovery
- Changes in job duties
Getting an employee back to work keeps a valuable employee on payroll. It also helps the employee heal on their own time and reduce overall worker’s compensation costs.
Need business insurance? Call First Insurance Group at 800-511-2892 today. We can help you get a fast, free policy quote.
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