Alternative Work Assignments
Completed task analyses are used to identify jobs for returning injured workers. Work activities are designed to accommodate limitations such as restricted lifting, standing, walking, or sitting. Alternate work activity can be a modified version of the injured worker's original job, the same job with reduced hours, or a combination of tasks from other positions. It can be full or part time, but should be a time-limited assignment that is directed toward the injured worker's full return to his or her pre-accident job. The work must be productive and suitable to maintain the worker's sense of worth.
To identify alternate assignments, determine:
What necessary tasks could the injured worker perform?
What tasks, now performed occasionally, need to be done more frequently?
What tasks could be assigned to someone else?
Be certain to know the physical and other demands of the alternate jobs or assignments that your company develops. It is essential that they match the limitations as prescribed by the injured worker’s health care provider to ensure prevention of re-injury and the full rehabilitation of the employee.
During recovery, injured workers need their capabilities emphasized rather than their limitations. It is best to consult the employee’s treating health care provider on what temporary work assignment would be best suited to the employee’s needs and most beneficial to the rehabilitation process.
Appendix S: Examples of Accommodations (PDF)