Returning to work after a workplace injury

Returning to work after a severe injury or a prolonged recovery can be challenging. In this article we share some tips on returning to work after a workplace injury. 

You must ensure that when you return to work after a workplace injury, you have completed the treatment and consulted with your doctor about returning to work. Let’s look at other important considerations and actions you need to know.

Listen to your doctor

According to O’Connor Law PLLC, it is best to consult your doctor about whether you are ready to return to work or if more treatment or rest is needed. Unless you have clearance from your doctor, returning to work can be risky. Prematurely returning to work increases the chances of re-injury.

In some cases, the doctor may allow the injured worker to go back to work with certain restrictions, such as not lifting heavy weights. If you suffered injuries that resulted in your becoming temporarily disabled, your doctor might decide you need more rest or further treatment, such as surgery. Ignoring the doctor’s recommendations can result in your injury worsening. 

You should also ask your doctor about any post-care procedures you need so that you can inform your employer about the ongoing treatment. For example, if routine follow-ups or further testing is required after you return to work, your employer should be informed to accommodate that in your work schedule.

Suppose you want to resume work because you are concerned about your finances and think your workers’ compensation may be denied or insufficient to cover your expenses. In that case, you should consult an experienced attorney. 

Stay in touch with your employer 

Throughout the recovery period, it is crucial to stay in touch with your employer or supervisor and give them regular updates about your condition and how soon you plan to return to work. In case you are allowed to return to work with some medical restrictions, your employer should know beforehand so they can accommodate those restrictions. 

Informing your employer about your medical progress does not mean that they can pressure you into returning to work. Sometimes insurance companies can use this information against you and send you for an independent medical exam to get a second opinion on your condition and your ability to return to work. This is also done to reduce your workers’ compensation benefits. If that happens, you should contact an attorney and discuss your options.  

Discuss the return to work (RTW) program with your employer

Return to work (RTW) programs are created by employers to help injured employees return to work. In this program, the employer contacts the employee’s physician and gathers their input on what job-related activities and duties are acceptable based on the injured employee’s condition. 

The program also includes modifications to the work environment to make the employee’s return more comfortable and help them transition back to work.

In some cases, the RTW program also includes monitoring the employee’s progress after returning to ensure they can get the required assistance. The employee needs to discuss the RTW program with their employer so they can give them feedback or suggestions on how to make the plan successful.