September 2019 Newsletter:

Return to Work - Good for All

Sustaining any sort of injury is never easy to deal with. At home, injuries impact the ability to perform activities of daily living and can affect the quality time spent with our families and friends. At work, they limit our ability to safely perform our job.

Return to work (RTW) programs aim to reintegrate injured workers back to work.

A sound and sustainable RTW program will present benefits to both the worker and the company, with the end goal of returning to normal duties, if possible. In the meantime a robust program will ensure that employees who need accommodation aren’t just doing ‘make work’ or ‘light duty’ tasks; the work they are doing needs to be meaningful and have a purpose.

Good RTW programs that are built around physical limitations look for opportunities to bring employees back to work in different ways, not putting everyone in a designated light duty area. These types of programs have amazing benefits to both parties:

Benefits to Worker

A well-run program can help reassure employees that legitimate care and concern are a significant thought on behalf of the employer and that the company values the work that they do day in and day out. Workers may benefit from the following:

  • Financial Security – A RTW program allows workers to continue earning a wage, limiting the likelihood of financial hardship
  • Retention of Skill – A RTW program allows workers to maintain their valuable skill set, through appropriate work hardening and conditioning and task assignment
  • Retention of Schedule – A RTW program can promote maintenance of a regular work schedule for an employee
  • Improved Morale – A RTW program can help an employee maintain their sense of purpose and need
  • Retention of Friendships – Not to be overlooked, a RTW program can maintain personal and professional relationships, and those connections may be a key motivation for a full return to work.

Benefits to Company

A well-run program can also have various benefits and advantages for the employer including:

  • Cost Reduction – A RTW program can help to offset and minimize WSIB costs as well as various indirect costs (e.g. lost productivity, retraining)
  • Retention of Skilled Workers – A RTW program should help employees to return to work quickly, with little to no interruption to work time
  • Reduction in Staff Turnover – A RTW program helps employers avoid various costs associated with rehiring and retraining temporary or replacement workers
  • Strong Employee Relations – A RTW program can signify to staff that the company cares about its staff, making for a more well rounded workplace
  • Communication Maintenance – A RTW program fosters constant communication between employees and employers, further helping to improve employee relations

The costs associated with injury claims can be astronomical. Learning to better improve your RTW planning so that staff are returned more quickly and to more meaningful work is the best strategy for quicker and safer RTW initiatives.

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