During these difficult economic times, it has been a challenge for many people to find work. Unemployment rates remain high, and those who do have a job are doing everything they can to stay employed. Workers and employers know that there are people ready and willing to do the job if an employee’s performance begins to slip.
While this may lead to an engaged and productive workforce, it is also leading to serious problems, especially for injured workers. Those who have been injured on-the-job are faced with difficult circumstances. Workers depend upon their jobs to be able to make ends meet, and any time that they have to spend recovering will impact their bottom line. While workers’ compensation payments can help, many feel that they need to get back to work as quickly as possible to avoid losing their jobs.
Unfortunately, this can lead some workers to return before their injuries have completely healed. A study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute examined injured workers in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. One of the major challenges that the study uncovered concerned what happens when positions and responsibilities need to be changed because an injured worker is not healthy enough to perform his or her usual tasks.
Employers may have difficulty finding new roles for injured employees to take on while they heal, and may have to move other employees to accommodate the injured worker. Employees may struggle to adapt to the new position, and may try to go back to their normal duties before they are ready. This could lead to additional injuries and prolonged recovery times.
Those who have been injured while working should report the injury as soon as possible. Any delay in notifying employers could make it difficult to obtain benefits while recovering.