What You Need to Know Before Returning to Work After an Injury

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There are studies that have shown that the longer an employee is off work, the harder it will be to then return to the job and do their previous duties. And even though your doctor might have said that you are at a suitable level to be back at work, you may not feel like you are ready to return to your job, full-time and in the same way. But ready or not, then if your doctor says that you’re able to return to work, then you will want to reduce the risk of losing any work compensation benefits. Hopefully, your employer has a great return to work policy, which can help you to transition back to into your role; if not, then they’ll have to figure things out along the way. Whatever the situation is, then you need to know how to make sure that you are able to stay healthy and well, as well as settle back into work in a really positive and productive way.


When do you go back to work?

If you have had an injury or sickness that has meant being off work, from something that happened at work, to something like the many pedestrian accidents that can happen, then you will be likely to see your doctor pretty frequently, as they will check your injury or health, and they will be able to check how you’re doing and if you are able to go back to working. The doctor will be able to decide if you should be off work, if you are able to return to work with things adjusted, or able to go back with no restrictions. Some people will be able to be kept off work until they have reached complete improvement, meaning that they are able to heal from the injury that they have had from work. However, if you can do something to be able to return to work, then you could return to work with some adjustments. So just don’t rush it and take your doctor’s advice, as well as working alongside your employer to make sure that you are fit and able to do so.

Check any restrictions

You need to make sure that your employer and your worker’s compensation rep have copies of any details about your return to work, especially if there are some restrictions to what you will be doing. It definitely wouldn’t hurt to have these copies for when you go to work, so you can check what should and shouldn’t be happening. It can feel pretty normal to want to push yourself to do all that you need to, especially if you like your job and your employer, but make sure that you aren’t doing anything that is outside of your work restrictions, and that does include staying longer to get tasks done. You should stick to your set hours, or it can really hinder your health. Even if you have an employer that isn’t very accommodating, then you need to make sure that you don’t refuse to do things that you could be capable of doing, as that could hinder your job role, as well as worker’s compensation.

Return to work policy

A return to work policy is something that your employer needs to have, and it is intended to help you to have a smooth transition period for when you do go back to work. It should be the thing that can help you to be able to perform your job role best, and help you to get back to where you were before the time off. If you’re partially disabled from your injury, then it is really important to make sure that you have a plan with your employer as soon as you can. This will help all of you know what is happening, and the expectations of the role and adjustments that need to be made. It can help to show that you will still be able to get the job done. So checking your employer has this is a really good idea. It is also a good idea to check that the policy has things in, such as:

  • A clear confirmation or understanding that your employer does understand your injuries or health situation in detail, will help going forward so they understand if there are limitations or not
  • Having a plan that helps to provide some accommodations that are reasonable, that will allow you to transition back to work in a safe way is also of a lot of importance
  • Open communication is something that is key too, and that is between you and your employer, as well as a doctor, so that everything can be laid out clearly. Your doctor can advise your employer what to do to make adjustments, if necessary, so the open communication is really important


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