The graduated return to work program

Dr David Colvin workers compensation

16/05/2018 Dr. David Colvin, trained in orthopaedic surgery in Perth. David's specialty is knee and shoulder surgery and sports injuries.

One of the commonest things I hear from patients who are on a return to work program is that they feel that their colleagues think they are “bludging”. 

There is no way to change what other people are thinking but rest assured your work restrictions have been put in place by your treating doctors for good reasons.  It is not advisable to exceed those restrictions, nor will it be beneficial for your recovery.

If you are asked to do things in the workplace that are exceeding the restrictions on your return to work progress certificate, then you need to speak up and say “I can’t do that”. 

Your rehabilitation provider generally acts as a liaison person between you, your doctor, and the employer if there is any conflict in this regard.  If you do not have a rehabilitation provider, Dr Colvin can arrange for one to be appointed to your case. 

Even if they are not being accused of bludging, some people just can’t help themselves from doing too much once they are back at work.  A strong work ethic means you just want to get in and get the job done.  But you are not doing yourself any favours by exceeding your lifting restrictions or overloading your injured joint.  I have seen many people who have had their recovery prolonged by overdoing things.  I have even seen a few who have re-torn tendons or ligaments.

It is great that you are back at work and indeed it is one of the mutual obligations of the workers’ compensation scheme.  It is compulsory to participate in a return to work program.  But work within your restrictions.  They are there for a good reason. 

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