OhioBWC - Basics:  Modified duty

Modified duty

Modified duty allows injured workers to return to work or remain at work performing physically appropriate modified duties in relationship to their functional capabilities. When considering modified duty the employer will need to work with the physician of record and the rehabilitation specialist to determine the best possible solution for each individual worker.

This may include:

  • Comparing the employee's functional capabilities to the job requirements;
  • Deciding to what extent the job can be modified;
  • Identifying other modified-duty opportunities on a limited or full-time basis, if modification of the worker's original job is not possible.

Transitional work
Transitional work is a progressive, individualized, time-limited program focused on returning the worker with physical restrictions to the original employment site. Transitional work allows the injured worker to perform productive work at the workplace under the direction of rehabilitation professionals. The program may include progressive conditioning, on-site work activities, education for safe work practices, work re-adjustment and job modification. The costs associated to a transitional work program within a vocational rehab plan are rehab costs charged to the surplus fund.

Job modification
Job modification is the removal or alteration of physical barriers that may prohibit an injured worker from performing the essential functions of the job.

Successful job modifications are the result of a cooperative effort involving these people:

  • Managed care organization;
  • Rehabilitation case manager;
  • Employer;
  • Injured worker;
  • Physician of record;
  • Other professionals as appropriate.

Job modifications are developed and implemented keeping in mind the injured worker's limitations, restrictions, functional capacity and physical capabilities.

An example of a job modification might be the purchase and installation of a power lift table for a mechanic with a back injury no longer able to lift.

The costs of job modifications for lost-time claims are rehab costs charged to the surplus fund.

Gradual return to work
Gradual return to work is a program that allows an injured worker to return to work on a graduated basis building up to a full-time work status within a 13-week period. The employer pays the worker for the hours worked and BWC pays living maintenance for the hours not worked (or) the employer pays the full salary and is reimbursed for the hours not worked.