Recovering from Personal Injury: Tips to Get Back to Work

For many people, a job is more than just a way to make money. Your job may provide a sense of stability. Any serious illness or injury that pulls you away from work can be jarring. You would like to return as soon as possible, but your condition may not allow it.

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Studies show resuming work after surgery can be beneficial to the worker’s recuperation. The trickier side of that fact has to do with liabilities on the employer’s end. Damages could be inflicted upon the employer if an employee suffers a relapse from overexertion.

Time needs to be set aside to recover to a functioning state before even discussing a return to work. Within that period of time, you’ll need to make arrangements. Here are a few tips to get you started.

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Participatory Ergonomics

Issues regarding work-injury leave and return policies can be easily solved when the employer already has a good system in place. Participatory ergonomics is one such system.

The participatory ergonomics system is supported by several “stakeholders” within the company. Stakeholders can be anyone on and off your worksite who have a direct say in how long you can stay out of work. You are the primary stakeholder in your case followed by your immediate supervisors, human resource representative, health and safety managers, and any outside consultants.

Run Health Tests

Any job that involves heavy lifting is bound to wreak havoc on your joints and muscle tendons. When the pressure gets too much, you need to find out how much this sprain will set you back.

There are dozens of simple tests you can do at home that can determine the severity of your internal injury. If you think you pulled something while operating heavy machinery, then try doing a rotator cuff tear test. Choose from three simple “extend and hold” exercises. These will require the assistance of another person or, to be absolutely sure, your primary physician.

Light-Duty Restrictions

When an employee returns after a period of absence, there should be changes to their job function. A recuperating employee might be assigned a new role. Even then, you’ll still have work at a light pace.

Your doctor may suggest a list of light-duty restrictions. Make a copies of this list to keep with you and share with your shift supervisor. Document any actions from your employer that constitutes punishment or discrimination for your situation. Requests to exceed your light-duty responsibilities should be reported to a workers’ comp attorney.

Maintain Good Communication

Not all employee-employer relationships are created equal. Most employees are nervous about requesting their employers for medical leave. Chief among their concerns is the fear of being fired and replaced during their absence.

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Without a strong line of communication, how will employers know how to adjust your work environment? Maintaining good communication supervisors and Human Resource personnel ensures your concerns will be handled fairly. If all goes well, you may be able to settle back in until you feel acclimated to your job again.

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