Building a successful return-to-work program

A few days ago we hosted a webinar focusing on integrating safety and health to build a return to work program.

Our speaker, Dr. Kay Campbell, shared her knowledge of building a successful return to work program. Kay has extensive experience in developing, implementing and managing employee health and wellness initiatives both domestically and globally.

We’ve received a tremendous amount of positive feedback on the webinar, so I thought I’d share a few interesting highlights.

  • What’s the impact of employee absenteeism? According to Kay, unplanned absences and casual sick days are the highest per-day productivity loss. In fact, Kay says that 5% of the average workforce is absent on any given day.
  • Beyond the obvious direct costs of employee absences there are many indirect costs, such as decreased morale and low productivity by the employees who are picking up the slack for their absent team members.

Most importantly, Kay shared what a successful return to work program should include.:

  • Written policy
  • Communication to all employees
  • Established target return to work dates using recognized disability guidelines
  • Functional match of an injured or ill worker to the job is principle for transitional work programs
  • 60-90 days of transitional work – the RTW team should evaluate progress
  • 6 months should be sufficient to determine permanence of workers recovery

If you weren’t able to join us for the live webinar, you’ll definitely want to watch the archived file here: Building A Successful Return to Work Program – Integrate Safety, Health and Wellbeing to Achieve Best Results

As a related side-note, if you have access to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, I highly suggest you read the June 2011 edition’s article on the impact of disease on absenteeism.