Managing the return-to-work plan of an injured worker. You are the HR Officer assigned as Case Manager to assist in managing the return-to-work (RTW) plan of an injured worker.
There will be a list of assignments on the website detailing which worker you have been assigned to. The stories for each worker will also be posted on the website.
This assignment has two major components.
Part 1: RTW Plan
You are assigned the case of an injured worker for whom you must create a formal Return-to-Work Plan. The RTW Plan will be in formal business memo style, addressed to all key stakeholders in the plan, and will reflect the understandings and agreements worked out by you with each of those stakeholders. Review the marking guide to see what components you need to include in your memo.
A good RTW plan will not exceed 3 pages [keep in mind your audience]. Remember that you are an HR Officer; so, none of these people works for you, rather you need to persuade them and solicit their assistance and participation. You can be directive where you have legislative support for this and you need to refer precisely to any Act or Regulation when you do so.
Part 2: Stakeholder Communications
In addition to the plan, you will append the comprehensive communications you have had with all stakeholders that are necessary to the success of your RTW plan, and you will identify roles and responsibilities for each stakeholder, including the timelines and reporting relationships between them and you. Do this piece first! Communications can include any or all emails, business memos, and transcript notes of telephone conversations. Each communication must be in a style appropriate for that medium and must clearly identify whom the correspondence involves and the appropriate addresses and dates. Remember to address any privacy issues!
Even when an organization is in full compliance with federal and state occupational health and safety rules and regulations, work-related injuries and illnesses can occur. That’s why creating and enforcing a detailed return-to-work (RTW) program that benefits both employees and employer is essential. In most companies, the workplace safety expert is the one who makes these programs happen.
Employees need to know exactly what will happen to them and their jobs in case of a work-related injury or illness. What are the options during their path to recovery? Workers generally have to see a designated physician who defines the medical restrictions and can remove workers from the RTW program for any violations.
On the other hand, employers must have a plan in place to protect themselves from any legal ramifications of a workplace accident – but a successful RTW program will offer much more. In its “Return to Work Toolkit” article, the U.S. Department of Labor said that an RTW program “can improve productivity and morale across an organization, save organizations time and money and protect agencies from loss of talent.”
Employees who know that management has a comprehensive policy in place to ensure that they will be taken care of in case of an injury or illness often feel more workplace camaraderie and stronger loyalty to the company. The employer won’t have to hire and train someone new if an injured worker has the option to go back to work with modified tasks that are in keeping with the doctor’s orders.
A successful RTW program is a win-win situation, but the design of such a program requires the knowledge and skills of a workplace safety expert who can understand and meet the needs of all parties involved.