Getting them back

Many people are hesitant to pursue a transitional return-to-work (TRTW) program, but there are many good reasons for developing and implementing one.

A TRTW program will contribute to the bottom line with maintained productivity, improvement of your incident rates and increased employee morale, with injured workers able to be productive while recovering from an injury.

Employees’ chances of successfully returning to their original positions increase if they return quickly from an injury. Studies show that the longer the employee is off work, the more difficult it becomes to return. A quick return also boosts the self-esteem of the injured employee.

Retaining experienced employees helps minimize the costs associated with decreased productivity, hiring and training replacements, and overtime. It also decreases the disruption of having temporary workers or workers in unfamiliar job rotations. National statistics show these types of indirect costs are often four times more than the direct costs of the injury.

A solid return-to-work program uses real job duties combined with the employee’s restrictions. The program should be viewed as transitional, with a definite end point. Avoid creating light duty jobs that injured employees may see as long term or permanent.

It may be appropriate to work with transitional work developers to implement a TRTW program. The need for outside help varies depending on your work environment and the types of injuries your employees is experiencing. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s Transitional Work Grant program helps ease the cost of implementing a program and works with an approved list of transitional work developers.

The goal of a TRTW program is to get the employee back to full duty quickly and safely. Employees see a successful program as a benefit, and getting them back to work quickly reduces their stress as they continue to receive a full paycheck and transition back into a normal routine. Dianne Grote Adams is president of Emilcott/DGA. Reach her at (614) 890-0800, ext. 208, or [email protected]