5 Steps to
A Return-To-Work Program That Works
Getting Injured Workers Back on the Job
In 2004, Ronnie Hindsman lost both arms in a power line accident. This is the story of his return to work.Jump to Ronnie’s Story
A 2008 tanker-truck accident left Lonnie Williams with limited mobility in his arms and legs. He learned to walk again, and now helps students make great strides in their own lives.Jump to Lonnie’s Story
Getting an injured employee back to work as soon as they’re physically capable–whether at full or modified duty–is a worthwhile goal that benefits both the employer and the worker. At Texas Mutual, we’re specialists in return-to-work (RTW), and we’ll help you make the process as smooth and rewarding as possible.
Our RTW programs help employees who are not yet capable of resuming their regular tasks return to some level of work. It’s a caring, therapeutic way to reintroduce that person to the workplace, aiding their rehabilitation, improving overall morale and lowering your workers’ comp costs.
What’s in it for you?
- Increase your productivity
- Lower your claim costs
- Reduce your workers’ comp costs
- Avoid paying overtime, finding temporary help or hiring someone new
- Boost employee morale
What’s it in it for injured workers?
- Recover sooner (Work is therapeutic).
- Maintain more of their pre-injury income (Workers’ comp benefits replace only a portion of injured workers’ lost wages).
- Avoid the stress and depression that often come with being isolated from peers.
- Steer clear of the disability mindset: “I’m injured, and I cannot work.”
Step 1. Commit your program to writing
Create a written program that clarifies your commitment to helping injured workers get well and back on the job as soon as medically reasonable. Explain in detail everyone’s responsibilities in the program, including managers, supervisors, injured workers, doctors and your workers’ compensation carrier. Make sure every employee gets a copy of the RTW program.
Step 2. Assess job tasks
Write down the separate activities or tasks that make up each job. Include physical demands (lifting, typing, standing), environmental conditions (noise, heat, vibration), and the time spent on each task.
Step 3. Identify modified duties
Use your task list to match available work to injured employees’ work restrictions, as dictated by their doctors. Modified duties should not be “busy work.” They should be meaningful tasks that contribute to productivity.
Step 4. Communicate throughout the process
Communication drives the RTW process. If you stay in touch with injured workers, you can help keep them connected to the team. Ask them if there is anything you can do to facilitate their recovery. Invite them to company events, and make sure they continue receiving company newsletters and other correspondence. You should also communicate with injured workers’ doctors. Make it clear that you have an RTW program and you will provide alternative productive work that complies with their restrictions.
Step 5. Make a bona fide offer of employment
If you can offer injured workers modified duties that meet their restrictions, put the offer in writing, and notify your adjuster. Bona fide offers of employment must meet the requirements in Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation Rule 129.6.
In 2004, Ronnie Hindsman lost both arms in a power-line accident. As the workers’ comp provider for his employer, Texas Mutual handled the costs and helped Ronnie get back on the job. More importantly, we helped him get back to the life he loves. This is his story.
On his first day on the job, Lonnie Williams sustained a severe spinal injury in a tanker-truck accident. As his workers’ comp provider, Texas Mutual helped him learn to walk again, and provided the financial support he needed to begin a new career in teaching. This is his story.