Return to Work Procedure after an Accident or Injury

June 23, 20204:50 pm441 views
Return to Work Procedure after an Accident or Injury
Return to Work Procedure after an Accident or Injury

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.

See also: Return to Work: Advice from Experts for HR Leaders

According to WSH Council, employers can successfully provide rehabilitation and return to work by: 

  • Developing and implementing new policies and procedures 
  • Earlier intervention in individual cases 
  • Working with insurers to build a return to work into insurance service 

Good practice in the area of return to work also includes workplace health activity, such as follows: 

  • Managing risks, a preventive strategy with regard to occupational illness and injury 
  • Undertaking workplace health promotion, and 
  • Intervening early if and when an employee suffers an injury, implementing return to work policies and procedures. 

What if the employee undergoes disability due to a workplace accident? 

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: 

  • Recruitment or employment 
  • Conditions of employment 
  • Training or work experience 
  • Promotion 
  • Any benefits that are provided for employees 

Return to work procedure of workers with a disability 

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: 

  • Change the work environment, i.e. changes to the work-station, to equipment or in employment conditions. 
  • Change the job, i.e. modify duties of the present job, move the worker to an alternative position in the organisation. 
  • Assist the worker to make the change, through rehabilitation and training. 

Read also: HR Tips: What TO DO If Employees Refuse to Return to Work