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What Are “Light Duty” Work Restrictions?

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Posted By KSK Law | February 8 2024 | Work Injury, Workers Rights

After sustaining an injury at work, you may find it difficult to perform your usual duties. Maybe you can no longer lift as many items as you used to, or you struggle to type due to a case of carpal tunnel syndrome. This is where “light duty” work restrictions come into play. Designed to accommodate your recovery while keeping you engaged at work, these restrictions ensure that you can still participate at work but are not at risk of exacerbating your injuries.

Common Examples of Light Duty Work Restrictions

When a doctor recommends light-duty work restrictions, they tailor these to your specific condition and recovery needs. Here are some common examples:

  • Limited Heavy Lifting: Most doctors will specify a weight limit that you should not exceed when lifting items at work. This is often a significant reduction from what you could lift before your injury. By limiting your heavy lifting, you can avoid worsening your existing injuries.
  • Avoidance of Repetitive Motions: If your job involves repetitive movements that could aggravate your injury, your doctor may recommend avoiding these tasks. This is especially common for injuries related to the neck or back, where continuous strain can delay healing.
  • Sedentary Work Only: For certain injuries, you may need to avoid tasks that require standing or excessive movement. Instead, your employer will assign you to duties that can be performed while seated. These may involve sitting at a desk, using a computer, or completing paperwork.
  • No Substantial Work: In more severe cases, the doctor might determine that you’re unable to contribute effectively to your usual tasks. In such instances, you may be advised to stay home or perform very minimal tasks at work, such as simple filing, to avoid the risk of further injury.

The Importance of Light Duty Work Restrictions

Light duty work restrictions are essential for a swift and effective recovery, serving as a bridge between complete inactivity and a full return to your regular duties. They provide you with time to heal without removing you entirely from the workforce, which can benefit your mental health. By adapting your role to fit your current capabilities, you can continue contributing to your workplace, keeping your skills sharp and your mind engaged. This continuity can provide a sense of purpose and normalcy during your recovery.

By preventing you from aggravating your injury, light-duty work restrictions support a more efficient healing process. This approach reduces the likelihood of complications that could lead to chronic conditions or extended absences from work. With these restrictions, you can also facilitate a smoother transition back to your standard duties, ultimately benefiting both you and your employer.

What to Do If Your Employer Refuses to Honor Your Work Restrictions

Despite the clear benefits of light-duty work restrictions, some employers may resist accommodating them. However, employers are legally required to comply with work restrictions prescribed by a healthcare provider. If your company fails to honor these restrictions, it’s crucial to take action to protect your health and legal rights.

A Minnesota workplace injury attorney in Minneapolis can help you compel your employer to respect the prescribed work restrictions. With a thorough understanding of employment and disability laws, they can advocate for your rights and help you obtain the protections that you deserve. If you find yourself in this situation, schedule a free consultation right away to explore your legal options.

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