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Early and Safe Return-to-Work (ESRTW)


The Commission provides return-to-work services and programs to injured workers. The goal is to safely return workers to employment or employability that is comparable to the pre-injury level as soon as possible. With effective return-to-work planning, the human and financial costs associated with workplace injury are significantly reduced.

All employers and workers are obligated under the Act to co-operate in a worker's early and safe return to suitable and available employment with the pre-injury employer. This may involve modified work, easeback to regular work, transfer to an alternate job or trial work to assess the worker’s capability.

Documenting a plan

The employer will complete an Early and Safe Return-to-Work Plan that outlines the agreed upon plan schedule and progression of duties. This form was updated December, 2014. If any change occurs, your case manager should be notified immediately.

The early and safe return-to-work plan should also outline the scheduled hours and the hourly wage earned. This information will determine if there is any entitlement to compensation during the return-to-work process.

The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission has improved its early and safe return-to-work web service. Employers who complete early and safe return-to-work (ESRTW) plans can complete and submit these plans through connect, the Commission’s web portal. This enhanced service will improve the information and data collected for ESRTW and help manage the recovery at work process.

This service will be available automatically to the over 4,000 employers already registered for the Commission’s web services. To sign-up visit connect and complete an application form.

The paper ESRTW form has also been re-designed to improve the information collected and help manage the recovery at work process. The new form can be downloaded at www.whscc.nl.ca/forms.whscc

Here are some features of the enhanced ESRTW web service:

  1. Enhanced functionality for employers to complete a subsequent plan by building on data collected from the previously submitted plan. This will greatly reduce keying information for the employer.
  2. New functionality including:
      1. An indication of hours type in the return-to-work schedule;
      2. A calendar to easily review the types and numbers of hours worked in the plan;
      3. An Injured Worker List screen to assist employers in prioritizing ESRTW submissions; and,
      4. A plan comparison option to view the current and previous plans.
      5. A forwarding function that allows users within an organization who have appropriate access to forward, return and reassign select sections of an ESRTW plan to other authorized users.
  1. Prompts with specific questions to capture critical ESRTW data as part of the recovery at work process.
  2. ESRTW plan submission in a convenient way and a copy saved in connect for easy access.

Employers can still submit plans at their convenience and plans submitted through the web are more accurate and complete, leading to better data quality and reducing follow-up and payment adjustments.

Employers confirm on the form that the worker has participated in the development of the ESRTW plan. A checkbox indicates the worker involvement and replaces the worker signature. An indication from the employer, combined with discussions with the worker and employer, will provide the Commission with greater assurance that worker participation in the development of ESRTW plans is happening.

If your organization has a connect account, contact your Employer Administrator to get access to this service.

If you don’t know if your organization has a connect account, call 1-800-563-9000 and an Information Officer will provide additional information on the new web service. They can also help you sign up for a connect account.

Re-employment Obligation

Employers who have a legislative duty to modify the workplace in order to accommodate an injured worker’s return to the workplace, are obligated to do so to the extent that it does not cause undue hardship for the employer. This may include work site/job modification or on-the-job skills development for alternate work.

Labour Market Re-entry Assessment and Plan

In cases where the injury employer is unable to accommodate an injured worker or has been found to be non-cooperative in the early and safe return-to-work process, the Commission will facilitate a Labour Market Re-entry assessment for the worker.

The Commission also has an ESRTW facilitator to assist with developing and maintaining a successful ESRTW program.