Studies have shown that when an employee is out of work for more than six months, there’s roughly a 50% chance of them ever returning to work in any capacity, according to the Catalyst RTW website. A work-related injury can have a huge impact on worker’s life. In fact, studies have shown that getting back to work is vital for your overall health and wellbeing for workers. The earlier you begin planning to get back to work, the better you can increase your chances of returning to work sooner. While knowing what to expect after sustaining injuries in your workplace can be hard, employers are being encouraged to get more involved in return to work programs to support injured workers.
Unless your injuries are long-term, in which case you might have to consider another career that fits your current condition or running your own business, getting the assistance you need on your road to recovery so you can return to work is highly recommended. Here’s what you need to know about returning to work after getting injured.
Understanding What You Can Do to Get Back to Work
Returning to work after a long layoff due to an injury can be a daunting experience. Your confidence at this point may have taken a knock which might make you start worrying about whether or not you can still perform at work, whether someone else has taken your position or if your colleagues will be there to support you. The first step you need to take is to understand what you should do to make the process much easier. Tait and Hall recommend that you consult your treating doctor to write details about what can do on your Certificate of Capacity, including your limitations. Talk to your employer on a regular basis about your progress and the specific parts of your job you think you can comfortably handle. Expect your employer to usually call you to know your progress.
Ask your treating doctor to talk to your employer so they can discuss the plans for getting back to work and the suitable assignments that are available to you. While working closely with your legal representative after a personal injury is critical, you should find someone else to assist, represent and support you at any stage of the return to work process. The coordination is best done by your return to work coordinator who you can talk to in case you experience difficulties when you return to work.
Why Staying Positive and Keeping Active Matters
It’s important to stay positive and keep active after an injury to benefit your rehabilitation as well as your overall wellbeing. If you feel that your treating doctor, employer or returning to work coordinator can do more to help you get back to work, it’s important to consult them. Focus on what you can comfortably and safely do, rather than what you can’t. Consult your treating doctor on activities you can engage in and talk to your family to support you and help you get better. If you’re away from work for a prolonged period, stay connected with what’s happening at your workplace and keep in touch with your employer and workmates.
Understanding Your Employer’s Legal Obligations
To ensure your rights are protected, it’s important to understand your employer’s legal obligations. Your employer must provide you with a suitable employment for a minimum of the employment obligation period and plan for your return to work process. They should also obtain all relevant information about your capacity for work and assess and propose suitable or pre-injury employment options that suit you. Your employer is also obligated to provide you with reusable workplace aid and support as well as clear and accurate details on your return to work arrangements. They should also monitor your progress and have someone following up on you.
If you have been injured at work, the process of returning to work can be challenging and requires a good understanding of return to work guidelines and related protocols. Studies have shown that the sooner you can get back to work, the faster you can recover and be able to return to regular assignments.