There is no need to take up valuable staff time to figure out the job duties and what the physical demands of the job are. It has already been done.
“Link-Jobs” are value-added temporary transitional job descriptions which are developed before an injury occurs. They are organized into a table so that the employer, supervisor or doctor can easily choose a job appropriate for the worker’s injury. The job description can be sent to the doctor immediately, instead of waiting days or weeks for the doctor to indicate the worker’s current limitations and then trying to figure out tasks that fit within the limitations.
The Stay Working System Link-Jobs are organized by injury and level of strength required. Just choose the least physically demanding, and perhaps the next job in line, and send them to the doctor first. The Link-Job descriptions can be sent with the worker to the doctor’s appointment, emailed or faxed to get it to the doctor right away to review for a release to modified work. Since the system is internet based, the medical provider can access the Link-Job descriptions right from the office as well.
The Stay Working System Link-Jobs are Value-Added
Through a method known as “job carving”, the Link-Jobs become value-added, meaning the worker performs tasks that are of value to the employer and co-workers. Job carving is a technique that discovers many useful little tasks and may even increase productivity. The injured worker remains a member of the work team, with the employer and injured worker feeling positive about their ability to contribute. The employer-employee relationship is maintained.
The Stay Working System discovery process uses questionnaires, job observation, review of regular job duties to see what tasks are modifiable and interviews with workers, supervisors and safety personnel to generate the value-added Link-Jobs. An interactive presentation explains how the system works, so the workers know what to expect and see the benefit to themselves, as well as to the company. The presentation can be customized to the business model and type of industry.
Chandra Pat Caine, a Certified Disability Management Specialist, developed the Stay Working Systems, Link-Jobs and Job-site Modifications that are presented here. Once the value added tasks have been discovered, Ms. Caine develops them into Link-Job descriptions, complete with the physical demands and recommended tools or accommodations to bring the tasks in line with the likely physical limitations for different injuries. To ensure as much accuracy as possible in the physical demands of the Link-Jobs, she asks questions of supervisors and workers; observes tasks; takes measurements; weighs things and reviews equipment specs. The employer and worker can rest assured that the doctor will be releasing the injured worker to a job that is within their current post-injury physical capacities.
Speaking of Value-Added, eligible Washington employers may get part of the workers’ wages reimbursed while they are working in any medically approved Link-Job. To learn more about Wage Reimbursement, Click Here
Link-Jobs Act as On-the-Job Work Rehabilitation
As the injured worker heals, the Link-Jobs become progressively more physically demanding. Take a look at the participants Stay Working Systems to see how it works.
Job-Site Modification Accommodates Physical Limitations
Unique to the Stay Working System, is that some Link-Job descriptions recommend labor saving equipment that can bring an otherwise too demanding task within the injured worker’s physical capacities. These are called job-site modifications. The Link-Job description contains pictures of the equipment for easy reference and to show the doctor what is being recommended. There is also a checklist for the doctor to indicate what is needed and what physical limitation it overcomes. When accessing any state reimbursement benefits, the checklist provides justification for the purchase without a lengthy report. To find a vendor within the participating employer’s geographic region, click on the Vendors tab.
Some examples of Job-site Modification might include:
- Height adjustable workstation: to create a sitting – standing workstation
- An ergonomic chair that has been fit specifically to the injured worker
- Ergonomic office equipment such as a split keyboard or attaching a keyboard tray to a counter to lower the keyboarding height
- Modifications to a car, truck, tractor, forklift, etc. to make driving easier, such as a better seat, shocks or automatic snow chains on a semi-truck
- Tools that specifically make the job easier and overcome limitations from the injury, such as a torque multiplier, a driver drill to replace hand screw drivers for a worker with a hand, wrist or shoulder injury to cite a few
- An ATV or golf cart to get an injured worker with walking limitations around the work-site
- A computer can be a job-site modification if it is used to overcome the physical limitations; such as a job that required writing could be done on a computer using speech to text, for a worker who lost function in their hand/arm
The cost of the recommended equipment for the participating WA employers stays within the allowed amounts for reimbursement through Washington State’s Stay at Work Program or Job-site Modification Program. For more information click the WA Benefits tab.
The vendors included with the Stay Working Systems are those that are within the participating employer’s geographic region and carry the recommended equipment. The list is not exhaustive and similar equipment may be found at other vendors. An effort has been made to include vendors who are L&I contacted vendors, as this is necessary if L&I pays for job-site modification equipment up front.
View the list of job-site modification vendors that provide the equipment recommended for the Stay Working System Link-Jobs here
Tools and Equipment Needed to Do the Link-Job
Each Stay Working System Link-Job description lists tools or pieces of equipment as modifications that may be needed to do the Link-Job. The employer may already have these tools onsite. If not, suppliers are listed on the vendors tab.
The Link-Job description contains pictures of the equipment for easy reference and to show the doctor what is being recommended. It also provides a checklist on the Link-Job description for the doctor to indicate what is needed and what physical limitation it overcomes. When accessing any state reimbursement benefits, this explains justification for the purchase without a lengthy report.
Tools and equipment may be reimbursable under the Washington Stay at Work Program. For details about what qualifies see WA Benefits tab.
Training Needed to Do the Link-Job
Sometimes a worker may need some short term training in order to do the medically approved Link-Job. It can be any type of training; frequently it is on basic computer and software use. Some employers have used language training programs for workers who need help with English or another language spoken by the company’s employees.
Potential training sites are listed on the Vendors tab of the website in the employer’s locale for whom the Stay Working System was developed. Some training sites have bilingual instructors. Going to the training site may be considered part of the Link-Job until the worker is able to do the Link-Job on their own. Training usually lasts no more than a week and it may done online. Information about individual training sites can be found on the Vendor Look Up Page.
Videos for Demonstrating Link-Job Tasks
Some Link-Job tasks can be demonstrated though use of pre-made videos. This business scans all paperwork that comes through, such as shipping and receiving documents, or correspondence. It is then stored in computer files. Skilled office workers need to take the time away from complex tasks to scan hundreds of documents. One of their Link-Jobs is “Document Scanner”.
But what if an injured field worker has never used a scanner before and/or does not speak English? That big machine can look pretty scary and then the office worker has to take time to answer questions. That’s when a video can come in handy. Store it on a tablet and the worker has it right next to the task. They can watch it over and over until they understand what they are supposed to do. Here is “How to Scan Documents” in English and Spanish.