4 Keys for a Solid Return-to-Work Program

There’s immeasurable benefit in reviewing what a good return-to-work program does for your workers’ compensation program.
By: | December 6, 2018

Bill Zachry has been in the business of helping injured workers get back to work for a long time.

But even this veteran workers’ comp professional, a senior fellow with the Sedgwick Institute, said he likes to be reminded now and then of the importance a well-structured return-to-work program can have for an injured worker and their employer.

“One of the things about lost time is that it is undervalued on the impact it has on the cost of claims,” said Zachry. “And once in a while it is very nice to be reminded of the importance of return to work.”

Zachry presented during the session “Minimizing Lost Time: Defining Key Stakeholder Roles and Interaction” yesterday at the NWCDC in Las Vegas along with Kathy Schroeder, senior director, global risk management with Office Depot.

4 Keys to Having a Solid Return-to-Work Program:

1) The first is offering light, modified duty to injured workers.

2) The second is making sure the doctor, the employee and the direct supervisor all have the same understanding of what the injured worker’s modified duties are, including any important limitations on activity.

3) The third: Clear communication between stakeholders — not just on the conditions of the workers’ modified duty but on every aspect of their medical recovery as well.

4) And fourth, and perhaps most important according to Zachry, are that there are tangible financial incentives in place for front-line managers and employees to make decisions that will lead to a full recovery and return to work.

“There is no greater catastrophic event for the injured workers than the loss of a job,” Zachry said. “And so, knowing that, the reinforcement of the importance of this as a process, the importance of providing light modified duty and the impact it will have on both the cost of claims and on the injured workers is extraordinary.” &

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected].

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