Transitional Work

Safe, healthy work can often be part of recovery from workplace injury. Transitional work can be part of an early and safe recovery.

What Is Transitional Work?

  • Temporary work, alternative work, or modifications pre-injury work that allows the worker to safely work while recovering. 
  • Transitional work aligns with the worker’s functional abilities. It focuses on what the worker can do, not what they can’t. 
  • Meaningful, productive, and temporary. The goal is for the worker to return to their pre-injury position.

What are the benefits?

  • Keeps a valued worker connected with the workplace.
  • Helps with social, mental, physical, and financial health.
  • Shows other workers the value of return to work.

How is it determined?

  • The health-care provider assesses what the worker can safely do after the injury.
  • With the return-to-work team, the provider matches the worker’s abilities to a pre-injury work task in the workplace. The work task should focus on pre-injury tasks first and consider alternative tasks if needed. 
  • A date to return to pre-injury duties should be clearly determined at the outset based on when the worker is physically/psychologically able to return to their pre-injury job.
  • As the worker recovers their transitional work is temporary and will be changed to match their abilities.
  • Planning transitional work is the process of determining work tasks that can be provided to an injured worker during their recovery. The physical demands of the job tasks must be known and must not exceed the physical ability of the worker.