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A return-to-work program provides alternative tasks for injured workers during their recovery. One example of a potential light duty task is administrative work.

This article is from the May 2015 issue of the IC Safety newsletter. To view the full issue, visit the IC Safety archive.

People are your most valuable asset. The longer an injured worker is absent, the higher the costs will be to your business. In addition to the cost of a workers' compensation claim, your organization may experience additional indirect losses such as lost productivity time, decreased morale, increase in experience mod/premiums, even the cost of hiring and training a new worker if you must replace the injured person.

How can I manage these costs?

  • Instruct workers to report all accidents immediately
  • Perform a thorough investigation of all incidents
  • Report claims to your insurance carrier in a timely manner
  • Understand how safety programs and training impact your loss costs
  • Implement a formal return-to-work program

What is a return-to-work program?

While accident prevention is the best way to reduce overall injury costs, an effective return-to-work (RTW) or light duty program can help put you in control. A RTW program provides alternative tasks for injured workers during their recovery until they are approved by a doctor to return to their regular job responsibilities.

RTW can decrease the likelihood of lingering or fraudulent workers' compensation claims by minimizing prolonged disability expenses and speeding up recovery time. Moreover, you can retain the use of valued workers, eliminating the cost of hiring and training a replacement. Effective RTW programs can reduce overall claims costs by up to 70 percent.

Establish a written RTW program in three steps:

  1. Identify preferred medical providers in your area. California business owners: Click here for specific instructions on participating in the CA Medical Provider Network (MPN).
  2. Draft a policy and document the physical demands of both current job tasks and potential light duty tasks. Then discuss the formal policy with your workers.
  3. Work closely with your claims adjuster and treating physician to ensure a light duty placement is appropriate and within restrictions.

If you have difficulty identifying light duty tasks in your company, consider alternative options such as modified duty off-site assignments at non-profit or charitable organizations.

  • Categorized in:
  • Driver Management
  • Return to Work
  • Transportation Safety