Returning to Work After an On the Job Injury

After an on the job injury, it is key to not rush back—it can lead to the aggravation of the injury, which is a bigger cost drain than not working at all. With this in mind, when should a worker who sustained an injury on the job return?

First, it is essential that the injury in question is healed before returning to work, for the reason mentioned above—not only does a re-injury carry with it physiological costs, it also is financially burdensome for all parties involved. For the worker, further treatment may be required to treat the new injury, and for his or her employer will be out a worker for even longer than originally.

With that in mind, a prompt return can still prove beneficial. It can get the worker back into the working frame of mind, and leading an active life is a health boon in the long run. In addition, workers who work more (by returning to work earlier, in this case) get paid more and can see their benefits go up. Working also increases chances for raises and job advancements that are simply not possible to attain during one’s time off.

However, when one “feels better” should not be a guessing game. It is of paramount importance to consult a physician to get the green light. In addition, communication pathways between employer and employee should be kept open. Employers should know the severity of their employees’ injuries so that the injured party can be eased back into work at a more appropriate pace.

Of course, there is a certain mental aspect to returning to work. While a doctor’s opinion is more grounded in fact, pushing oneself to return to work when it seems unreasonable is a poor decision. Instead, an injured worker should be comfortable enough with his or her own physical state before returning to work. And while this self-assurance is important, a gut feeling should not serve as gospel. Rather, the opinions of self, family and a medical professional should be weighed to make an informed and thought-out decision before returning to work.

After an injury is sustained, one of the questions at the forefront of a worker’s mind will likely be when to return to work. While the best time to return is not cut-and-dry and varies from case-to-case, it is essential that workers make sure they feel fully healed and are not pushing themselves beyond their limits to return to work.