Welcoming an injured employee back to work following a workplace accident is beneficial to both employer and employee. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen because neither party is familiar with workers compensation rules and regulations. They also don’t want to risk running afoul of those regulations. At times like these, it pays to hire a safety consultant who will be able to walk both parties through the process and ensure that everyone is satisfied with the outcome.
Studies have shown that the faster an employee returns to work after an injury, the shorter their recovery time. Returning to work helps to ensure that an employee does not become isolated and risk becoming depressed. Since an individual spends a major portion of his or her life on the job, they will definitely miss the camaraderie of co-workers while recovering from an injury.
A shortened work week is one option for any employee making a return to work. In industries such as construction, a worker may be able to perform a desk job temporarily or his or her duties can be modified to accommodate an injury.
While some people mistakenly believe that workers compensation can be used as a paid vacation, this is not the case. In fact, returning to work promptly may very well increase your income and benefits in the long run. Workers compensation payments will always be lower than what you would earn as a full-time employee. Further, raises and promotions are out of the question until you are back on the job full-time.
Injured workers also worry that they will no longer be reimbursed for medical treatment if they return to work. This is not the case. Injured workers will still receive costs for travel to and from treatment as well as medications and other items prescribed by his or her doctor.
Employers should not shy away from welcoming injured workers back to the office. Injured employees regain their ability to work over time. By allowing workers to ease back into the workplace while they are still less than 100 percent the transition for employee and employer will be easier. It also will be less disruptive to the entire staff. What’s more, accommodating such workers does not cost as much as employers might think and will actually reduce workers compensation and insurance costs over time.
Injured workers should never come back to work before they are ready. However, prolonging their return is never a good idea. It is important that such workers focus on getting back to work and into a normal routine. Studies show that the longer people take to return to work following an injury, the more likely it is that they will never return. And that’s not good for anyone.