Long leave due to workplace accident or injury might both disrupt company’s production and employee’s psychological wellbeing, such as whether or not they can still do their job or if their desk or space might be occupied by somebody else. These kinds of thoughts will build insecurities for injured employees, who take long-leave, to return to work. However, these insecurities should not disrupt employees for going back to their normal working life if managers keep them updated about anything happening in the workplace.
When the injured employee has recovered and is ready to work again, employers and HR leaders should be ready with their injury management. Injury management is a term used to describe all the processes involved in supporting a worker with a work-related injury to recover and return to work and refers to the steps employers and workers can take to assure that an employee can recover and safely return to their work as early as possible.
According to WSH Council, employers can successfully provide rehabilitation and return to work by:
Good practice in the area of return to work also includes workplace health activity, such as follows:
Most legislation does not, nor could it in all probability, guarantee job security for an injured worker. Yet, employment equality legislation might be of relevance if as a result of a work-related injury, the worker now has a disability which meets the definition of Employment Disability Act. Under this act, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate an employee who has a disability or a prospective employee who has a disability in relation to such measures as:
A return-to-work plan should be developed and implemented consistent with medical advice and where necessary with the aid of a rehabilitation expert. The rehabilitation strategy is workplace-based and aimed at maintaining the injured worker within the workplace or returning him/her to appropriate employment in a timely, safe and cost-efficient manner.
It is important to involve an insurance agency if there are any issues of compensation. Close collaboration between all parties is a critical success factor. Involving employees in the development and implementation of the return to work programme encourages a feeling of ownership of the programme and maximises the opportunities for success.
Should the injury be sufficiently serious to impact on the worker’s ability to do the job or to access the work environment, there should be three changes enacted, such as follows: