Injured at Work
What are the potential implications of an injury at work?
Physical impact: pain, reduced dexterity, reduced mobility, possibility of re-injury, risks associated with surgery to repair the injury e.g., infection, scarring.
Emotional impact: psychological issues, e.g. depression from being off work and isolated at home; stress of being off work and worrying about finances; stigma of being injured at work and being devalued by other employees or supervisors
Financial impact: lost wages, medical costs, rehabilitation, drugs, assistance with everyday activities: house cleaning, meal preparation, etc.
What can an employer do to ease the transition back to work?
- Give the employee the time off work to recover.
- Make contact with injured worked and maintain good communication throughout recovery and return to work.
- Make accommodations. They may include: light duty, gradual return to work, modified duties
- Prevention: record and track injuries; work with your joint Health and Safety Committee on prevention strategies. Make safety a priority for everyone in the organization — from the top to the bottom.
Who plays a role in return to work?
The worker should feel empowered to actively participate and have an influence in return to work practices. They should willingly participate in treatment recommendations and keep their supervisor up to date on their recovery.
Employers should foster a supportive environment for injured workers. Supervisors actively participate in return to work case management. They should take an active role in Health and Safety and work with employees on injury prevention. Employers must accommodate injured workers to the point of undue hardship
If applicable, the union is involved in developing a disability program and providing support and advocacy to workers as needed.
Health Care Providers
Health care providers care for injured worker, assess injuries and recovery, and suggest possible accommodations.
Provide benefits to injured workers.
The government develops the legislation and mandates for prevention of workplace injuries, and management of workplace injuries and return to work
Disability management contractors
If available, these contractors can help manage this process and facilitate communication among all stakeholders.
For more information:
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
- Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB)
- Ontario Ministry of Labour, Health and Safety
- Occupational Health and Safety Act (Ontario)
- A Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act by the Ontario Ministry of Labour
- A Guide for Managing the Return to Work by Canadian Human Rights Commission