It was early summer when two young men went to work at their grandfather's manufacturing company. From his office, the CEO could see his grandsons working on the shop floor. The season went smoothly; but seeing his grandsons at work, exposed to hazards, had a profound effect on the long-time business owner.
"I remember this employer well," says Darren Oryniak, Vice President, Compensation Services, WCB. "Having his grandsons working for him was the catalyst to make him recommit himself to safety and health and Return to Work."
This story may be unique but the outcome isn't. In his more than 30 years working in claims at the WCB, Darren has seen business leaders implement Return to Work programs for a variety of reasons.
For some, it's primarily financial. Return to Work is good business. It minimizes WCB claims costs, it can reduce the cost of training replacements and can help maintain productivity.
For others, it's legal. There's legislation around re-employing injured workers that applies to organizations with more than 25 workers. They do it to remain compliant.
More often than not, it's moral. Employers feel a duty to their employees and are compelled to help them get back to work as quickly and safely as possible.
"Business owners have a variety of reasons for implementing Return to Work programs," Darren explains. "What I've noticed is that they're starting to look at the strategic advantage it provides in recruiting and retaining workers. Companies are realizing that if they are safer and support Return to Work, they can attract and retain workers in a competitive labour market. There are also the added benefits of maintaining productivity, enhancing team dynamics and improving workplace morale."
Each workplace and worker is unique. Therefore, Return to Work programs must evolve and be customized to meet the specific needs of individual workers and workplaces. Key principles based on participation, communication, responsibility, and early intervention help ensure the program's success.
To help organizations reach this goal, the WCB offers a free workshop strictly focused on helping employers create or enhance their program to ensure an injured worker can safely return to meaningful work. Called Return to Work Basics, the one-day course introduces the basic components and best practices of a Return to Work program.
For more information, contact Return To Work Program Services at
204-954-6161 or toll free 1-855-954-4321, extension 6161.