EHS Today Online Feature: 10 Costly Return-to-Work Mistakes
By lowering the length and duration of time away from work due to injuries and illnesses on or off the job, return-to-work (RTW) programs have reduced workers’ compensation, disability and medical insurance costs as well as strengthened morale and productivity. More recently RTW programs have helped protect employers from lawsuits regarding regulatory non-compliance, particularly related to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008.
- Failure to effectively manage the increase in number of employees covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).
- Insist employees be released to “full duty” before returning to work.
- Do not account for co-morbidities.
- Fail to commit the budget or resources.
- Be deterred from setting up transitional assignments because the employee “may get hurt again.”
- Don’t distinguish “light duty” from “transitional work” from “reasonable accommodation.”
- Rely on the physician to guide the RTW process.
- Don’t understand how laws overlap and conflict.
- Don’t stay focused on the goal and establish consequences.
- Believe workers’ compensation settlements resolve other liabilities.