After a successful recovery period from a recent workplace accident, you feel ready to get back to work. For everyone’s benefit, develop a sound return-to-work plan to better facilitate a smooth transition.
Learn the elements of a proper return strategy after a work injury. Do what is right for your health and your job.
Get your doctor’s approval
You likely have a workers’ compensation physician looking after your health, perhaps your regular doctor. Before approving you for work again, your doctor must give you a thorough examination and sign a release form. The document lists your medical restrictions on the level and type of work that you can perform. Look carefully over the form so you and your employer know how long you can work, whether you need reasonable accommodations and if you have restricted movements that you cannot do.
Regarding medical restrictions, you may perform different duties than you did before your injury. Depending on your employer, your supervisor may ask you to perform restricted duties, which is why you must remember what you can and cannot do, acting as your own advocate in the workplace. Keeping a copy of your doctor’s release form with you at work makes it easier to know which requests you can accept and which you should remind your employer you cannot do.
“Modified duty” is a temporary job that your employer may assign you when you first return to work. These jobs usually last no longer than 90 days while you get used to your new responsibilities. You may have to learn how to use new software or equipment in your new capacity.
Get an idea of what to expect when you return to work. Proper knowledge ensures that you, your employer and your medical professional share the same expectations.