The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs reported the total number of cases in California as of October 22, 2023, was 11,299 for 6,618 workers. Many of these people will be off of work due to their injuries, but a time will come for most of them when they need to return to work.
If you have been off work due to an injury, it is essential to explore the steps you can take to safely go back to your job.
Communicate with your employer
The first step in the process is open and honest communication with your employer. Inform them about your injury, its severity and your recovery progress. Discuss your potential return-to-work options and any necessary accommodations. If your condition changes during your return-to-work process, inform your employer promptly. They may need to reassess your accommodations or duties based on your current abilities.
Follow medical guidance
Your healthcare providers play a pivotal role in your return to employment. Comply with their recommended treatment plan and follow through with any physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises. Keep your employer updated on your progress.
Understand your rights
Familiarize yourself with your workers’ compensation rights and the policies your employer has in place. Knowing your rights can help you navigate the process more effectively and ensure your employer provides you with the required support.
Consider modified duties
Returning to work after an injury may involve modified duties or a gradual transition. Be open to temporary job adjustments that accommodate your injury. This can help you ease back into your regular tasks.
Prioritize safety both for yourself and your coworkers. Be aware of your physical limitations and any work-related risks. Report any concerns to your supervisor to prevent accidents or further injuries.
Stay committed to recovery
Maintain your commitment to recovery even after returning to work. Continue your recommended exercises, medications or therapy. Your long-term health and your ability to perform your job depend on your dedication to recovery.
Do not hesitate to seek emotional support from friends, family or a counselor. The stress of dealing with a workplace injury and returning to work can be overwhelming. Having a support network can help you cope with the challenges.
Returning to work after an injury is a gradual process. Be patient with yourself and your body. Understand that it may take time to regain your full capabilities, and setbacks can occur.