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What Every Employer Should Know About Medical Work Restrictions

March 7, 2024
March 11, 2024
medical work restrictions

An employee’s health and wellness should always be at the forefront of your mind as an employer, and that includes potential restrictions that need to be taken into account. Medical work restrictions play a large role in helping an employee transition back to work after sustaining an injury.

It’s important to not only learn about what medical work restrictions are, but also how employers can adhere to them.

The basics of medical work restrictions

Medical work restrictions, sometimes known simply as medical restrictions, refer to limitations placed on an employee by their health care provider following a job-related injury. The goal of these restrictions is to limit the stress placed on the injured area to reduce the risk of re-injury or worsening the issue.

For example, medical work restrictions are normally placed on people who have sustained workplace injuries such as a broken bone or a muscle strain. Restrictions are work modifications that will vary depending on the type of injury that has been sustained and the tasks that are required for the employee’s job.

Common medical restrictions include:

  • Only working in a sitting position
  • Taking frequent breaks
  • Only lifting items under a certain weight
  • No squatting or kneeling

What to know about work restrictions as an employer

While an employee is the main person affected by the work restrictions, it’s the job of the employer to ensure that they adhere to them and reduce the risk of worsening the injury. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Accommodations aren’t legally required — While you should encourage the affected employee to safely return to work, you’re not legally required to accommodate their restrictions if the modifications aren’t feasible. It’s possible that you’re unable to accommodate their work restrictions due to costs or the nature of the job, and they shouldn’t be required to return. For instance, an employee who has injured their foot can’t safely work the brake pedal on a forklift until their foot is completely healed.

  • The employee can refuse tasks — If the restrictions aren’t possible, then the employee shouldn’t return to work. If they do return to work, the employee can still refuse tasks without consequences, such as threats of termination, if they believe that the tasks don’t adhere to the work restrictions and pose a further risk to their injury.

  • Communication is key — An open line of communication between employers and employees is always essential, but especially in the case of work restrictions. You should work together to determine how you can meet the restrictions as well as encourage them to be honest about any pain or discomfort they may be experiencing during their recovery.

Work-Fit can help you accommodate medical work restrictions

When an employee returns to work following an on-site injury, it’s important to know how to stick to their medical restrictions whenever possible. Our ergonomics and injury management services can help you through the process and guide them along their recovery.

Contact our team today to find out more about all the benefits Work-Fit can bring to your workplace. 


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