Save Money in 2016 by Building a Return-To-Work Plan This Spring

L&I Roseann 3.8.16
Written by guest blogger, Roseann Collins, L&I Employer Services

Are you ready to bring injured workers’ back to work with medically-appropriate light-duty jobs?   Many employers are not ready. Spring is a good time to start building your businesses’ return-to-work plan.  If you don’t have a strong return-to-work plan, you could be losing money.

Returning to work supports injured worker recovery and reduces the financial impact of a workers’ compensation claim on the worker and the employer by helping the worker keep a workplace connection after an injury.

A good place to start with your return-to-work planning is to create modified or light-duty job descriptions to keep on file in case of an injury.

Other action steps to consider include:

  • Create a return-to-work policy if you don’t already have one.
  • Before an injury occurs, think about what light-duty assignments an employee could do if they were injured on the job.
  • Ask your employees for their input in creating light-duty assignments.
  • Tell new hires that your business has a return-to-work policy, so should they get injured at work, you will bring them back as soon as possible.
  • Tell physicians you have light-duty available and want to bring your injured workers back as soon as medically safe and possible.
  • Use the Washington Stay at Work Program to get reimbursed for up to $10,000 to support light-duty wages.

Use L&I’s Washington Stay at Work Program Incentives

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Washington’s Stay at Work Program can reimburse employers for a significant portion of the costs to support medically-approved light duty.

The Stay at Work Program can reimburse:

  • Fifty-percent of the base wages you pay to the injured worker (up to $10,000 or 66 days of light duty, whichever comes first).
  • Some of the cost of training, tools or clothing the worker needs to do the light-duty or transitional work (up to $2,500 for equipment; $1,000 for training; and $400 for clothing per claim)

To date, L&I has reimbursed over $42 Million to keep over 16,000 workers working and receiving wages.

For more information, go to

Changing weather means new safety hazards

Spring can be a time to celebrate warmer temperatures and sunshine.  Remind your workers to be aware of new hazards that come with Spring weather, such as more pedestrian traffic and storm-related hazards like flooding and dangerous driving conditions. Discussing safety-related topics about spring hazards is a great way to help everyone stay safe and working.

For more information, go to L&I’s website at and check out these topics:

Seasonal Safety: Spring

Ladder Safety

Hand & Portable Power Tools

Chemical Use


Green Building Safety Awareness Training