Getting hurt at work can mean a sudden stop to your standard daily routine. You may have been used to taking care of yourself and working full time every day. After your injury, you may not be able to return to work. Spinal injuries, broken bones, head injuries and even soft tissue injuries could keep you from safely completing the tasks involved with your job. In some cases, you may require help with daily self care as well.
Your employer also has adjustments to make after your injury. They may need to review safety practices or repair or replace machinery. There is also the consideration of who will fill your role while you heal. Ideally, your employer wants to work with you to help you get back on the job as soon as possible. Knowing what your employer should do after a workplace injury can help ensure you receive the support you deserve.
Workers’ compensation helps employees heal
Many insurance plans these days include large deductibles or coinsurance rates. Those with severe and painful injuries may not be able to seek the care they need without incurring substantial cost. If those expenses overlap with an inability to work, that could mean avoiding necessary treatment out of financial concerns.
Thankfully, workplace injuries generally receive coverage through workers’ compensation, which does not have a deductible or co-payment requirement. Offering workers’ compensation insurance to employees and maintaining thorough internal records of injuries and incidents can help ensure that staff can receive the medical help they require to heal after a workplace injury.
Employers should support and encourage workers who get hurt and want to return to work, not penalize them for seeking workers’ compensation and basic accommodations on the job.
Workplace accommodations can help some workers get back on the job
Many different kinds of injuries take a long time to heal. Broken bones, soft tissue injuries and nerve damage can require extensive treatment and ongoing therapy for a full recovery. If employers had to wait until every staff member was at peak performance, that could mean months without reliable help.
By choosing to accommodate worker injuries, employers can help get people back on the job more quickly after an injury. Changing job responsibilities, providing basic assistive technology and otherwise working with an injured worker can help that person get back to work. Different injuries may require different kinds of accommodations, but unless these needs represent an undue hardship on your employer, they should try to work with you.
Injured workers should know that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations for workers with injuries and disabilities. If your employer refuses to accommodate a work-related injury and the limitations it places on your work ability, you may need to stand up for your rights. Cooperating with injured workers can benefit employers as well. After all, the sooner you can return to work, the lower the overall costs of your workers’ compensation claim may be.