Why are Work Restrictions Important?

Arizona Injury Law Group

When an employee is injured, he or she typically wants nothing more than to get back to work as soon as possible. Unfortunately, however, this isn’t always possible. And even when an injured employee is able to return to work, it is often in a limited capacity. When a worker returns to work in such a capacity, this is known as a work restriction. Ordered by a physician, work restrictions, also known as light-duty restrictions, place limitations on tasks such as pulling, bending, pushing and twisting. And while they can be frustrating, work restrictions are important for a number of reasons.  Below is an overview of the importance of work restrictions in Arizona.

1) Work restrictions ensure employee safety – Work restrictions are necessary to prevent the exacerbation of an employee’s current injuries. In addition, such limitations help to ensure that injured employees don’t suffer new injuries due to their impaired physical status.

2) Work restrictions ensure coworker safety – When injured employees return to work before they are fully healed, they run the risk of injuring coworkers, particularly in jobs involving physical labor. Injured employees are unable to perform their duties efficiently, and this puts their coworkers at risk. However, work restrictions mitigate this danger by allowing an injured employee to only perform tasks that he or she can physically handle.

3) Work restrictions impact worker’s compensation – In addition to ensuring the safety of an injured employee and his or her coworkers, work restrictions are important due to the effect they can have on worker’s compensation. Work restrictions can affect worker’s compensation in several ways, including:

  1. a) Changes to a worker’s claim status – When an employee is placed on limited or light-duty by a physician, that employee’s benefit status is altered, and workers’ compensation insurance carriers are required to notify the affected individual of such a change.
  2. b) Changes to temporary compensation – When an employer cannot effectively accommodate an injured employee, the employee is required to seek other employment or risk losing his or her workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, the employee’s job search efforts must be reported to the compensation insurance carrier along with any income earned. If all requirements are met, then worker’s compensation benefits continue while the injured worker is on restricted duty.

4) Other considerations – It is important to note that injured employees who have been cleared to return to work on a restricted basis are entitled to refuse such employment without risking the loss of family leave rights. However, once such a medical clearance has been granted, federal law may not protect the injured employee’s worker’s compensation benefit rights.

Arizona Worker’s Compensation Attorneys

Workplace injuries can be devastating, both physically and financially. Therefore, if you or a loved one have been injured on the job, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced Arizona worker’s compensation attorney as soon as possible, as you may be entitled to compensation. For a free consultation, please contact Arizona Injury Law Group, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, at 602-346-9009.

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