When one of your workers becomes injured, make sure they get medical care right away. This protects your company. It also shows your injured worker that you’re concerned about their welfare. Showing support can help them heal faster and return to work sooner. While they are recovering, they may also be worrying about their future. Your support can reduce their anxiety and build confidence instead.
How can you show support?
Prolonged absences drive up workers’ comp costs. As soon as an injury occurs, give the employee information about the claims process. Support starts with helping your worker understand their rights and obligations. This can remove real or perceived barriers to recovery. These barriers can lead to employee frustration, mistrust and delayed return to work.
Showing support makes employees feel they’re being heard, rather than “falling between the cracks.” Continue to stay in touch as they progress, because it’s easy to feel isolated away from the job. Ongoing communication will help you, too. You can learn if there are other ways you can support your injured worker.
Stay in touch with their doctor and/or physical therapist, too. Give them your employee’s job description. They can use it to assess when return to work can begin. They can also use it to determine if special accommodations will be necessary.
Everyone’s goal is to get your injured worker back on the job as soon as possible. Providing on-site physical therapy may be the most supportive action you can take. At a clinic, the physical therapist uses generic strengthening techniques. On site, the physical therapist can see your worker’s real-life job environment and tasks. That allows the therapist to tailor therapy sessions to the person and the job.
Therapy sessions help your employee heal. On site, the therapist can also teach them how to work safer in the future to avoid re-injury. It is also more convenient for your injured worker to attend on-site therapy sessions. Your concern for their needs is a significant show of support.
Willingness to make job-related accommodations is another important way to show support. Light or modified duty lets your employee continue working, if their injury isn’t too severe. Or it can help them to return to work as soon as their injury starts to heal. It’s obvious you value them as part of your team. You could even consider a temporary assignment in another department. Perhaps they could work at a desk instead of on the production floor.
Accommodations do not have to be costly. In fact, the Job Accommodation Network conducted a study of this in 2012. In that study, employers said 57% of their return-to-work accommodations cost nothing.
Start with Prevention
You should always encourage every employee to “think safety” while on the job. They should know there are resources to help them, if they become injured. Injury prevention programs create a supportive environment. They teach your employees to work safer, all the time. You can offer special workshops or other training sessions. Or you can provide ongoing activities such as daily stretching exercises.
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