Formalizing a modified work program

You care about the safety and well-being of your employees. You work hard to keep them safe at work. But when an injury happens, do you know what to do to help them recover and get back on the job?

Plan ahead and work with your employees to identify safe return-to-work options.

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Work injuries can stop your business and employees in their tracks. Planning ahead before an injury happens will help you provide the right support for a safe and timely return to work when an injury occurs.

1. Put a policy in writing

It is important for your policy to reflect the organization's commitment to its employees by offering modified work. This can help an injured worker's recovery and facilitate early return to work.

Make the program flexible so you can accommodate a variety of different situations including work- and non-work -related injuries.

2. Educate your workers

Once your modified work policy is complete, share the information with your workers. It is important they have a good understanding about your modified work philosophy and the expectations the company places on workers if they are injured.

Once a claim is established, make sure the injured worker contacts you and the WCB adjudicator or case manager regularly and participates in the treatment program. Your worker's active participation and understanding of the process will contribute to a successful recovery and safe return to work.

3. Be proactive

Identify modified work opportunities in your company before an injury occurs. By doing so, you are prepared when an injury occurs and can work with your employee to plan a safe return to work. To create a list of possible modified work tasks:

  • Observe job tasks and document modifications that could accommodate an injured worker such as lighter lifting or providing a stool to allow a worker to alternate between sitting and standing.
  • Ask for input from workers on modified work opportunities. Your workers know their job best and can often come up with creative ways to adjust the physical demands of a job.
  • Develop a list of work duties that could be done by an injured worker and are of value to your organization.
  • Use outside resources such as networking with other employers in your industry to share modified work ideas and to help identify modified work options for your company.

If you are finding it difficult to identify modified work, call us. We can arrange for a rehabilitation therapist to come to your job site to help you.

4. Create a return to work package

The following forms are recommended to assist you in helping your worker back to work when it is safe to do so. You can use these sample forms or customize them for your company.

  • Notice to injured employee – This form acts as an action plan for your injured worker, outlining your commitment to help them return to work safety following their injury.
  • Fitness for work form – This form is completed by the treating physician to provide details about your worker's level of fitness for modified work. Encourage your worker to discuss modified work options with his or her treating physician and obtain medical support to participate in either modified work or a return to full duties.
  • Use the Physical demands analysis (PDA) form to assist the treating physician to understand the physical requirements of a particular job. Provide your worker with a copy of the description of the physical requirements for both the current job duties and proposed modified duties. Send a copy of the PDA form to the adjudicator or case manager to provide details about the physical requirements of the pre-accident job duties.
  • When you receive the completed fitness for work form, complete a written Offer of modified work agreement for your worker to sign. This agreement provides details on the type of modified work, duration, hours of work and rate of pay to ensure you and your worker have the same understanding of duties.
  • Send all forms to us and communicate any progress or challenges to the adjudicator or case manager. Be sure to also update us when your worker has returned to full duties.

5. Resources for you and your employees

We care about your success and your employees’ well being and want to to help you incorporate modified work into your safety and disability management plans:

  • A tool for workers to help them plan for their return to the job: A modified work planning wallet card. You can order free wallet cards for your employees. Make these cards part of your new hire training to educate your employees on their role in planning modified work and what to do if they are injured at work.
  • Share the modified work with your employees. The video will help them understand they can play an active role in their recovery and successful return to the job.
  • Register for a return-to-work (modified work) workshop. This half-day seminar is available for free to employers with a valid WCB account and gives you the basic information you need so you can build and implement a successful return-to-work program for your company. To learn more and to register, visit Seminars and Workshops for employers.
  • Our treatment centre also provides a half-day modified work workshop for employers.