When you’ve suffered an injury at work it can be difficult to begin the return to work process. Both you and your employer may have different ideas of your capabilities, which is why it’s important you have a comprehensive understanding of your rights and your responsibilities and communicate regularly with your doctor.
In this article, u-Law provide the details you need about returning to work, including the benefits of returning as soon as possible, your responsibilities and the steps you should take to get back into the swing of things. Keep reading to find out more.
Benefits of returning to work
While many employees think being at home is the more beneficial way to recover from an injury, there is a case for returning to work as soon as possible, provided it’s safe to do so. The benefits of returning to work include:
Physical activity aids recovery
If you’ve suffered a physical injury at work, the idea of returning can be daunting, especially if simple tasks that would’ve normally been a breeze have suddenly become difficult. While physical therapy is vital to regaining strength and mobility, so is incidental exercise.
When you return to work, you’re typically moving around more than you would be if you stayed at home. Even if you’re on light duties or sitting at a desk, you’ll find that simply getting ready for work in the morning and walking around the office or workshop can make a difference to your recovery.
Many employees who have suffered an injury at work often experience depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns during the recovery period. In the case of depression, this is often triggered by staying at home all day, boredom, and feeling isolated from friends. When it comes to anxiety, many employees feel dread about returning to work, which only gets worse the longer they are away.
Returning to work should be like ripping off a Band-Aid. It’s better to get do it as quickly as possible, as many employees find their outlook improves as soon as they’re back. Not only are they surrounded by their colleagues, their day is filled with purpose once more.
Removes the strain on relationships
Injuries can place a strain on both personal and work relationships. At home, partners of injured employees may feel unsupported when having to take on additional roles, such as cleaner, babysitter, carer, etc.
As for work, colleagues are more likely to support the injured employee if they return to work sooner as they feel like equal effort is being made to share the workload.
Your responsibilities as an employee
If you have a work injury, there are several legal responsibilities you have to ensure you can return to work. This means completing the following:
Actively participate in planning
To actively participate in planning for your return to work, you must attend any meetings arranged, as well as follow the instructions of your doctor or WorkSafe agent. It’s also recommended that you walk through your workplace with your employer to identify any potential hazards, and ensure you have a detailed outline from your doctor stating the tasks you’re able or unable to perform.
Easing back into work
As mentioned above, getting back to work is the hardest step for many injured employers, which is why it’s recommended to do it as soon as possible. That being said, you don’t have to return to full duties immediately. You can start back on reduced hours to help build up your stamina, and also perform light duties if your work is of a physical nature.
Take precautions to prevent repeat injuries
How you take precautions to prevent repeat injuries depends on the type of injury. For physical injuries, it’s important that you maintain good posture and use the correct work methods, especially if your job requires manual labour. You must also keep up with any prescribed exercises, and keep in regular contact with your employer, WorkSafe agent and occupational rehabilitation provider so they can keep up-to-date on your progress and abilities.
If your injury is psychological in nature, it’s import you recognise any potential triggers and if you have any concerns, discuss them right away with your manager.
What’s the responsibility of your employer?
While returning to work as soon as possible is in the best interests of the employee, it should still only be done at your own pace. It’s your employer’s duty to provide you with sufficient time to recover. They must also only task you with appropriate duties and provide you with the necessary assistance throughout your recovery.
Find out more
If you want to find out more about the return to work process or your obligations, you can always speak to the team at u-Law. We’ll be able to provide you with the legal assistance you need regarding your workplace injury. Enquire online today.