When an injury occurs, the goal for both the workplace and the worker is to get things back to the way they were before the injury.
This is where modified duties come in:
Modified duties are any temporary changes to the worker’s job tasks, functions or workload. This can include alterations to the work area or the equipment used by the worker. If the worker is unable to immediately return to their original job, providing modified duties will help them recover, contribute to valuable work and reduce or eliminate the claims costs associated with lost time from work.
Planning modified duties is the process of determining work tasks that can be provided to an injured worker during their recovery. The physical demands of the job tasks must be known and must not exceed the worker’s physical ability. In other words, they must be safe duties.
Modified duties must be meaningful, productive and within the injured worker’s skills and abilities. When a worker returns to modified duties, it’s the employer’s responsibility to work with them to progressively increase duties as their ability improves. Remember – the modified assignment is intended to be temporary.
Ideally, modified duties should be as closely related to the original job as possible given the worker’s restrictions, and the modified assignment should be short-term. A date to return to regular duties should be clearly determined at the outset based on when the worker is physically able to return to their original job.
Finding solutions together
We realize it may not be possible for some workplaces to offer modified duties because of the size and job functions involved. WorkSafeNB can help workplaces identify modified duties, adjust these through the worker’s recovery, and help determine an appropriate date of return to full duties. We are here to help both workers and employers on the path of working to well. Please contact us to see how we can help at 1 800 999-9775.
Learn about WorkSafeNB’s Work Recovery Program
Learn about WorkSafeNB’s Vocational Evaluation Program
Download the Working to Well Employer’s Quick Guide to Early and Safe Return to Work.