An organization’s workforce is its most valuable asset. When an employee can’t work due to illness or injury, it impacts not only an organization’s productivity, but also its morale. According to OSHA, 4.1 million US employees experience work-related injuries or illnesses each year and 1.12 million of those employees lose work days as a result. As soon as a worker is able, it is in everyone’s best interest to return him or her to work in some capacity. Often, this is done through formalized return to work programs. Return to work programs are extremely effective because they provide benefits to not only the employee, but also your company as it will help increase productivity and minimize your Workers Compensation costs.
The following steps will help you construct an effective return to work program and create meaningful work assignments for injured workers. It includes steps to take before execution, tips on how to manage the program and implementation recommendations.
- Know the Facts Gather some initial information on return to work programs to learn about their potential cost savings and about how to adapt your program for your company’s needs.
- Gather Data Ask your co-workers about their thoughts on injuries and return to work practices to determine how much work will be needed to complete your return to work program.
- Demonstrate a Commitment to Early Return to Work Make it clear that your program will be committed to the recovery process above all else.
- Create Goals. Define clear objectives for your program so that employees know what to expect.
- Create a Return to Work Team and Define its Responsibilities Appoint a team to provide leadership, set expectations and act as a communication channel for your program.
- Develop a Workflow Chart Outlining the Return to Work Process Use a workflow to identify next steps and to eliminate confusion in the return to work process.
- Develop and Maintain a Job Bank Create a list of possible transitional roles for injured employees who return to work
- Create a Communication and Education Plan Make sure employees are aware of their job responsibilities both before and after an injury occurs.
- Recordkeeping Keep a transitional duty database so you can measure the success of your program and make adjustments when needed.
- Distribute the Plan Make your program easily accessible to all employees, and have them sign and date acknowledgement forms to reduce your liability.
Biscayne Risk and Insurance Group is committed to helping our clients minimize Workers Compensation costs by implementing best practices and negotiating competitive terms. Contact us to discuss your company’s unique needs. We have the tools necessary to ensure your business is put in the best position to protect itself.