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Grey and Associates
What is a Return To Work Program?
A Return to Work (RTW) program is an important component in a Worker's Compensation Management Program, second only to an Accident Prevention Program. Once an injury has occurred, the goal of the RTW program should be to return the injured employee to work as quickly as possible. To accomplish that, the employee's job may have to be reevaluated for a period of time. Two alternatives may be considered:

Modified Work: The employee returns to their original job, but some restrictions are placed on the job by treating physicians. Restrictions may include reducing the amount of work time, and/or restricting certain activities such as bending or lifting. Modified work is also referred to as Light Duty.

Temporary Alternate Work: The employee returns to work, but because the original job cannot be modified to conform to the physician’s restrictions, the injured employee performs another job that accommodates the injured employee's abilities.

Benefits of a RTW Program?
A RTW program is beneficial to both management and employees. Such a program:

1. Allows an injured employee to continue to be productive and to contribute to the company.
2. Maintains communication between the injured employee and management.
3. Reinforces the company's interest and concern for an injured employee.
4. Improves communication between the company, the employee and the treating physician.
5. Discourages malingering.
6. Reduces the disability associated with the injury and its related cost.

Another benefit of developing a RTW program is that it helps your company comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. By following the steps listed below, specifically those in the job descriptions, the essential components of each job will be identified and classified. This will help management identify jobs with potential employees with disabilities may be able to perform.

Steps to a Successful RTW Program

Top Management Support and Commitment
In order for a RTW program to be successful, it is imperative that management makes a firm commitment to "drive home" the need of the program and its benefits to all employees. Grey & Associates is enthusiastic in the development of the RTW program and is committed to communicating the program throughout your company.

Job Descriptions

Written job descriptions have been developed for all present jobs as well as potential alternate jobs. The job descriptions include a listing of all essential functions, the location where it is performed, length of shift, etc. Job functions such as lifting, carrying, bending, walking, standing and other repetitive motions are classified according to severity and recurrence.

Policies and Procedures

Top management will develop policies and procedures by which the RTW program will operate. The Return to Work Policy and Procedure packet identifies:

1. Who will manage the RTW program
2. When the RTW program is to be used
3. Who will use the RTW program
4. What forms will be used
5. How long will Modified or Temporary Alternate Work last

Communication and Training

Management will develop an entry level and periodic communication strategy with employees about the importance of the program and their role in it. Training will take place at levels of the organization to help all employees understand their role and responsibilities.

Follow Up an Evaluation
Management will continually improve the program with input and involvement from employees, discussion groups, supervisors, treating physicians and other medical personnel.

Contact Grey & Associates for additional information and/or assistance.
Grey and Associates
Grey and Associates - 1919 David Drive, Champaign IL 877-352-3974
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