Blue-collar workers help keep Minnesota running. They drive commercial trucks, work in factories and repair infrastructure. They also take on a lot of personal risk because of their job responsibilities. A broken arm, a repetitive stress injury or a head injury from a fall could all leave someone unable to work. Workers may not like the idea of taking a leave of absence or filing a workers’ compensation claim. Still, those options exist for a reason.
A workers’ compensation claim can help someone get the medical treatment that they require. It can also cover part of someone’s lost wages until their condition improves. Eventually, a doctor will determine that a worker can return to their job. If they still have symptoms of their injury, they may need additional support from their employer.
Injured workers have a right to ask for accommodations
Many workers in blue-collar professions do not want to admit their physical limitations. However, going back to work without the right help could worsen someone’s injury. The only way to avoid a situation in which someone becomes permanently unable to work is to get the right help to do a job safely.
The Americans with Disabilities Act extends workers the right to request reasonable accommodations. Someone receiving workers’ compensation benefits will often have restrictions on what work they can do. Their doctor may even suggest specific accommodations that the employer can provide. Companies can allow a worker to sit during their shift. They can change their job functions or even providing assistive technology. These are all examples of reasonable accommodations. It benefits employers to offer these accommodations because they can help the worker return to their job more quickly. Proper accommodations benefit a worker as well. They can get back to their full earning potential as with minimal risk of re-injury.
Blue-collar workers often may feel anxious or unhappy about asking for employer accommodations. When employers are unwilling to cooperate with injured workers, affected workers may need help requesting accommodations and making use of their legal protections. Understanding how accommodations benefit both the business and the worker may help someone speak up if they need support to get back to work.