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Written policies and procedures for Return-to-Work can improve the bottom line

As the case study in this eBulletin demonstrates, clear procedures in handling work- related injuries can reduce costs. By providing appropriate, productive return to work opportunities, employers can significantly reduce injury related lost time.

An early return-to-work program should be simple, realistic and suitable to your business needs. Putting the policy and procedures in writing is the first step.

A written policy statement reinforces the company’s commitment to the program and helps make the expectations of early return to work an integrated part of the company culture. It helps to show that the company values its employees. Written documents help communicate with employees, healthcare providers and insurance carriers and ensure that everyone has the same information.

Policy statement

Write, adopt and post a policy statement that is brief and broadly written so that it does not require frequent revision. Post the policy in an easily accessible place as a constant reminder and encouragement of early return to work following a work related illness or injury. Include statements that:

• Confirm the company’s commitment to the early return to work program

• Explain the company’s return to work philosophy

• Stress the importance of safe operations and prevention of injury

Procedures and responsibilities

Write procedures that explain step-by-step what will happen from the time of injury until after the injured worker returns to work. Include clearly stated and detailed instructions that identify specific roles and responsibilities. Identify the primary contact person and provide contact information.

Roles, responsibilities, and procedures will vary depending on the program and other company policies and expectations. Important points that should be covered include:

• Who an injured worker should notify in the event of injury

• What are the procedures an injured worker should follow

• Who is responsible for completing the Employers' First Report

• Who is responsible for maintaining contact with the injured worker

• What an injured worker can expect from the insurance carrier, treating doctor, and others

• How and who determines the availability of medically appropriate work assignments

• How and who will investigate the incident

If you would like more information or samples of written policies and procedures, contact us.