Is Your Employee Ready to Return to the Same Job After Their Injury?


Whether your employee can return to work full-time, part-time, or can’t return at all, it is important to begin to plan how and when they can safely return to work.  To aid in the return-to-work process, an employee may be offered modified or alternative duties until they are able to return to their previous position.

However, a worker should be given sufficient time to recover from the injury or illness and not feel pressured into returning to work.  Employers have an obligation to help the employee return to work and to ensure that they are not treated unfavorably because of their injury.  If an employee returns to work and finds their injury keeps them from completing the tasks at hand, they may request a collection of workers compensation benefits.

An effective return-to-work program can benefit employers in numerous ways.  Such a program can help avoid millions of dollars in fines and penalties, reduce workers’ compensation costs, retain experienced employees, improve employee morale, and help ensure equal opportunity of employment for persons with disabilities.  Here are some practices in returning an injured employee to work:


  • Contact the injured employee and start the interactive process
  • Describe essential functions and usual duties of jobs
  • Obtain work capacities and restrictions
  • Research and evaluate possible accommodations  and make an offer of work
  • Implement and monitor the accommodation


Your company can save thousands of dollars by using a system like the Physical Capacity Profile Testing System (PCP) will give definitive answers to often unanswered questions.   The PCP is a comprehensive testing procedure developed by an orthopedic physician that documents the test subject’s physical skills and American Medical Association related impairments.  It helps occupational and human resource professionals place employees in the appropriate job to minimize the potential of injury while documenting each employee’s physical capacity and impairments.

The Physical Capacity Profile Testing System can be utilized in post-hire testing as well as return-to-duty testing. In post-hire testing the procedure helps the employer determine an employee’s physical capabilities and limitations before they start work. It provides quantitative data that assists in the placement process while meeting all regulatory compliance criteria. Return-to-duty testing allows the employer to be responsible for returning the employee to what their capabilities were upon hire.