Job Descriptions Are
Your Ace in the Hole
You work hard to prevent on-the-job injuries, but accidents happen. When they do, the goal is to get the employee well and back to work. One of the first questions your insurance carrier will ask is, “Can the employee still do their normal job?”
That question is tough to answer if we don’t know what the employee’s normal job duties are.
Thorough job descriptions for every position at your company are critical to the return-to-work process. They are important pieces of the disability puzzle that help vocational case managers put on their creative return-to-work thinking caps.
A vocational case manager’s job is to evaluate the injured worker’s normal job duties. Then, they coordinate with doctors to get a work release based on agreed upon modifications to the original job.
Thorough job descriptions pay close attention to the physical demands of each task. In developing job descriptions, ask yourself these types of questions:
- How much does the employee have to lift? How high? How often and how long?
- What kind of tools and equipment does the employee use?
- What are the environmental conditions (heat, cold, noise)?
- How long does the employee sit, stand or bend?
- Does the job comply with the employee’s new work restrictions?
That last question can be tough to tackle, but remember that you don’t have to answer it alone. The physician can help if you provide a good job description.
The Texas Department of Insurance created form DWC-74 as a template for communicating injured workers’ job duties to physicians. A thorough DWC-74 tells the physician exactly what the employee does on the job every day. From there, the doctor determines whether the employee can still do those tasks.
If not, the doctor will use form DWC-74 to explain the injured worker’s restrictions. Your vocational case manager can use that information to identify alternative productive work the employee can do while they recover.
Your insurance carrier might be able to help you develop job descriptions. For example, Texas Mutual employs the state’s largest team of workplace safety professionals. They help our policyholders analyze jobs and develop written job descriptions for the return-to-work process.
For more information about writing job descriptions, see page 17 of Texas Mutual’s Return-to-Work Kit for a Physical Demands Task Assessment checklist. For more information on return-to-work, visit our website.
Watch this short video to see how a near-fatal accident sent Lonnie Williams down a new career path.
Thorough job descriptions for every position at your company are critical to the return-to-work process.