Restoring employees after an injury

by Dan Malovany
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Bakers should be careful in how they reintroduce an injured person into the workforce.

Lost time is different than an injury. Lost time can occur when employees need to take time off because of a doctor’s orders. Sometimes they’re unable to work at their previous positions. Often it requires a bit of creative thinking — even if it’s working in the office instead of on the plant floor.

“When employees go back to work, it may not be the job they had before,” observed Rick McGrath, partner and senior-vice president, Lockton Cos. “Ultimately, the company’s goal is to identify jobs where their employees can get back to work quickly. Now you’re paying them wages instead of a workers’ comp claim. As a result, a return-to-work program is significant, but a lot of companies struggle on what’s the best way to get employees to return to work.”

Bakers should be careful in how they reintroduce an injured person into the workforce, noted Will Giambalvo, senior vice-president, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. To reduce the risk of repetitive motion claims, for instance, many companies incorporate job rotation to give employees a rest period throughout the shift. “The issue here comes when you add light duty and put the person who was injured in the inspection position, which causes additional stress on the other employees. I discourage doing this.”

At Gonnella Baking, getting people back to work requires specific training to reinforce proper procedures and behavior in the future, according to Liz Marcucci, corporate safety director. “If someone is involved on a forklift incident, they cannot be on that forklift for 30 days until they get retraining on it,” she said.

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