Aug 31, 2023Common Compliance Issues for Small Businesses and How to Avoid Them
Understand common compliance issues for small businesses and how to avoid them with these helpful tips from our advocates.
As an employer, you play an essential role in the recovery of injured workers. A properly defined Return-to-Work program is a proven way to decrease an injured worker’s recovery time and assist them in returning to work quickly and safely with temporary and appropriate work restrictions.
According to ICW, after 12 weeks off the job following injury, roughly 50% of workers do not return. The reduces to less than 2% after more than one year off the job.
Below, we will highlight the what, how, and why of a Return-to-Work program to help you understand its importance and the steps you can take to implement it in your workplace.
A Return-to-Work program can shorten the duration of disability, assist in keeping injured workers functioning effectively in the workplace, and reduce claim costs. By implementing a Return-to-Work program, employers can:
A successful Return-to-Work program should first establish job descriptions of usual and customary duties. Employers can then define ways that the duties for each job may be modified to accommodate an injured worker’s medical restrictions.
It is recommended to provide the existing job descriptions to the medical clinics so that they are readily available for physician review when an injury occurs.
Then, begin to identify and define temporary work assignments:
When an injury occurs, employers should report the injury and refer the injured worker for medical treatment and submit the Injured Worker’s Usual and Customary Job Description to the treating physician for review to determine if the worker is able to perform the job duties.
To gain the most out of a Return-to-Work program, employers can develop a comprehensive written policy. Include the policy as part of the new hire onboarding and provide copies to existing staff. Leadership should be trained on the policy and process to ensure restrictions are being followed. HR and/or management involved in claim handling may also proactively meet with their clinic director to gain support and alignment on procedural expectations.
Oftentimes, how employers manage work-related injuries interplay with Human Resources especially when you are determining safe and acceptable modified work options that are available to an injured worker. In these instances, employers need to keep the interactive process in mind which demonstrates employer good-faith activities and proactive behaviors (e.g., supervisor training on how to handle such issues) that can go a long way to prove your company’s efforts in identifying and promoting an appropriate accommodation such as:
A Return-to-Work program is an essential component of any workplace. By implementing a Return-to-Work program, employers can shorten the duration of disability, assist injured workers in returning to work quickly and safely, and reduce claim costs.
As discussed here, to implement a Return-to-Work program, employers should consider the components of an effective Return-to-Work program by:
For more information or clarity on any of these points, you may reach out to our office anytime to discuss a Keep at Work or Return-to-Work program and how it can work for you.