By: Kimberly Daise
Most employers want to know how long an employee will be off work following an injury at the workplace. There are a lot of factors that go into the answer. It may include a review of the nature and extent of the injury, the employee’s age, the employee’s physical condition and the overall health.
The most common types of injuries are sprains and fractures. There are several factors to be considered when determining the time the employee will be off work. The first factor to consider is the type and extent of the injury. A moderate sprained ankle heals much quicker than a compound femur fracture. To get an idea of how extensive the medical provider considers a sprain, look for the adjective before the word sprain or strain.
The adjectives most commonly used with sprain and strains are:
To understand how extensive a fracture is look for the medical assessment terms:
Most Fractures are described as follows:
Other terms used:
Consider Age & Conditioning
In addition, the employee’s age may be a factor. A 25-year-old employee with a simple fracture will heal more quickly than a 55-year-old employee with the same injury.
The employee’s physical conditioning before the injury can play a significant factor in the employee’s disability recovery time. The 50-year-old employee who very active will recover from an injury faster than a 20-year-old employee who spends all his free time in front of a video monitor.
The overall state of an employee’s health will impact the disability time. For example: an employee with on-going medical issues such as obesity, diabetes, or other comorbidity issues will recover from an injury much slower than an employee who has the same injury, but no other on-going medical issues. Additionally, the non-smoker may recover from an injury faster than a smoker, all other factors being equal.
The total disability time range is the expected length of time before the medical provider will allow the employee to return to light duty work. The partial disability time range is the approximate amount of time the employee should be in a light duty job. It is important to review the injury assessment and consider the condition of the employee. Review both to get an idea of back to work time and possible conditions.