The Return To Work Blog

The Golden Return To Work Rule

Posted by Gary Lavoie on Oct 14, 2015 7:30:00 AM

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A few moons ago in an earlier post, we talked about the “six figure eye-roll” and how psycho-social barriers have a drastic impact on claims dollars and outcomes.  It’s time we dig a bit further into that and develop strategies for overcoming those barriers.   From this writer’s perspective, that eye roll is the root cause of not just rising indemnity cost, but also the staggering medical inflation that this industry is experiencing.

Why Can't You Just Do Your Job? 

When the actual work or job Adjusters_Path_Accommodating_An_Injurydescription (lifting boxes for example) is the cause of a work injury, there is an inherent reaction to that moment that is focused on three things:

  1. What can’t be done. 
  2. That he or she can’t perform the job.
  3. We, as the employer can’t accommodate because lifting boxes is the nature of the job itself.   

That twenty minute moment does something to the pathway that the adjuster is about to travel down to produce a positive outcome.   The path is about to zig, zag, bend and there may even be an exit ramp or a wrong turn.  All of which are keeping us from the destination of return to work.  

The reason for that is NOT JUST ABOUT ACCOMMODATION.  It is about what that injured worker perceives in those moments about their livelihood: literally their homes, their children, groceries, and bills coming through their door. 

Frustrated_EmployerIf an employer presents a frustrated reaction to my work injury, I quickly become dependent on that work injury because of my fear.  If I’m dependent on my work injury, what is the first thing that I NEED to express to my physician?...PAIN.   What is a physician’s response to pain?   The answer to that extends well beyond disability.  It is another round of PT, repeat diagnostics, and too often narcotics.   Down the winding road we go……

Don't miss out on your opportunity to create value

Finding_Purpose_In_WorkSo fix it!  Treating the work environment is not just about accommodation.  It is about an injured worker seeing the antithesis of the six-figure eye roll.   It is about seeing an employer who values them, who believes that they have purpose, and understands that the job itself COULD be the problem.   The injured worker will see an employer who is showing a willingness to come alongside them.   Now, I suddenly feel a whole lot less like my livelihood, those groceries, bills, and my home are truly at risk. 

Treating the work environment is about understanding that work is vital.  It gives us purpose and it strengthens communities.  Protect it.  Treat it the same way you would treat that body part.  Doing the right thing strategically doesn’t diminish the essence of your value system.  Doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons,  is obtuse.

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Topics: Return To Work

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