Good Basic Session on Light Duty Return to Work Issues and Challenges
I attended and took notes on this NWCDC breakout session concerning light duty return to work. This was a good basic session from two national employers. One of the challenges, as we all know, is each state is unto itself in Workers Comp – including light duty return to work after an on-the-job injury.
Click the title below to see more about the session and to download the presentation slides. This session involved a ton of forms. I recommended obtaining the slides. They are free and open to the general public. You may run out of time. I am not sure how long they will be up on the website.
The session description from the website –
During the COVID pandemic, light duty work for injured workers has been a challenge for many employers. In this session, you’ll learn strategies to locate light duty work within your organization and review alternative light duty options you can bring onsite. You will also pick up the tools to write a successful return to work policy that incorporates onsite and offsite transitional light duty opportunities. Roto Rooter, a large national plumbing company, will review how their company struggled with RTW and the changes they implemented internally to accommodate almost 99% of their field employees work restrictions. Presenters will share case studies showing the impact early RTW has on your workers’ compensation premiums.
I liked the angle that these two presenters had on their presentations. They both had to deal with multiple states – likely all 50. Sheakley and Roto Rooter cover most of the US.
0% chance of returning someone to work after they have been out for two years or longer. I agree with that one totally. I think the needle has moved closer to 18 months nowadays.
Both presenters covered the 1.0 Mod conundrum. If you have above a 1.0 Mod, you may be left out of bidding on many projects. Governmental organization risk managers look at Mods very extensively. The contractor may want you to add them on as an additional insured.
Some of the great light duty return to work recommendations were:
- Include onsite and offsite alternatives
- Specify the duration
- Ability to change job aspects
- Specifics on temporary light duty assignment
- Return to work committee
- A sample light duty return to work policy is in their slides, (see link above)
- Job Analysis – formerly called Job Bank
The one unique area the presenters covered involved onsite or offsite light duty work for non-profit organizations.
The light duty offer letter cannot be general, must be specific.
The states that require physician approval include:
Do not forget CDC requirements in the job letter.
A comparison of reserves – a nationwide study:
- $4,568.93 with light duty return to work job
- $$21,625.50 without
Those two numbers were startling. I had performed two massive studies between claims without a return to work program and with a return to work program including light duty. Employers with return to work programs cut their reserves by 75%. Dividing out the two numbers above comes close to that figure. I wrote the Six Keys to Workers Comp Savings manual in the 1990s. Some things never change.
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