Return to work tool kit


Return to work tool kit


What is a Return to Work Toolkit?

The Return to Work Toolkit is designed to help a worker; who because of an occupational injury/illness to return to productive employment in a timely and safe manner. Effective Stay at Work/Early Return to Work programs have been shown to:

  • Reduce or eliminate lost wages
  • Reduce or eliminate lost time claims
  • Reduce the costs of finding and retaining new workers
  • Reduce workers’ compensation premiums
  • Keep loss of productivity to a minimum

– From Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia

Table of Contents:

My Account….
Direct Access & What is a Return to Work Toolkit…..
Star Donovans Success Story…..
Modified Duties…
Steps to take when an injury occurs


The quickest and easiest way for employers to report an injury is online on MyAccount.

What is MyAccount?

MyAccount is Workers Compensation Board of Nova Scotia’s essential online business tool for employers. It gives you 24/7 access to your account and claim information, and you can send and receive messages and documents securely.

You can use MyAccount to…

  • Send and receive documents securely – less fax, regular mail, or telephone tag
  • Submit an injury report and other forms
  • Report and submit payroll
  • Check clearance status for your business and your subcontractors
  • Manage your subcontractor list
  • View rate information
  • View monthly Statements of Account and reported payroll
  • Monitor claim status and costs in real time, and manage claims more efficiently
  • View newly registered claims and specific information such as case worker and direct phone numbers
  • View and calculate the costs of injuries on your business and compare your experience to your industry
  • Identify claims with outstanding injury reports
  • Monitor appeals
  • View inspection reports, compliance orders and other Occupational Health & Safety documents

MyAccount Support

Questions about how to use MyAccount? Call 1-800-870-3331.
Below is the link to login or register for MyAccount – From Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia

What is Direct Access?

Direct access to early assessment of sprains and strains at work provides injured workers more timely access to the healthcare services they need. It enables workers to go directly to a WCB approved healthcare provider, such as a physiotherapist or a chiropractor, for an assessment, allowing the return -to-work process for sprain & strain injuries to begin right away.

Click here for more information:

Star Donovan Success Story with Return to Work

Star Donovan, Brooklyn, NS
Human Resources Manager, Head Office – Liverpool, NS, Mersey Seafood

Star Donovan has been involved with creating the Return to Work toolkit with the Fisheries Safety Association since the beginning and has tremendous success with her own Return to Work program within Mersey Seafoods.

My first step is to get my injured employee into Physical therapy to assess what they are capable of doing and then the physical therapist visits our facility to determine what jobs the employee can safely perform.”

Mersey Seafoods had a gatehouse that was inactive, and it was fixed it up for the purpose of creating jobs for employees returning to work with limitations.

We had the gatehouse fixed up and we put all the amenities everything in there because one of our employees was injured on a boat. The employee injured one of his hands and was unable to return to the boat. In the gatehouse we were able to accommodate to his injury so he could work Safely with one hand.”

It’s easy to see that Star puts effort into finding suitable work for her injured employees.

The employees with limitations help in the stock room and the gatehouse. In the gatehouse there are always two employees so if someone wants to use the washroom they can and one of them can go for a walk if they need to, it’s the same way for the stock room. They trade off between the stock room and gatehouse, they need to be able to stand, sit, walk, do what they need so their bodies can heal. Also, the mental health aspect is important. Being alone is no fun so we don’t like to have employees working alone, that is why we pair them up.”

Star also wanted to give her employees roles in which they could move freely and not be stagnant so their bodies can heal properly. Star also took into consideration the Mental Health aspect and ensures that no one employee ever works alone.

For Star what is most important is to keep her employees safe and at the workplace. Being at Mersey Seafoods you get a strong sense of a family bond among the employees and Star, this affects all aspects of their operations, including Return to Work and Safety.

Return to Work Definitions:

WCB Injury Report
WCB injury report is required to be completed when a worker is injured at work.
Transitional Duties/Modified Duties
Transitional duties are any temporary changes to the workers job tasks that align with their functional abilities – what the worker is able to do. If the worker is unable to immediately return to their original job, providing transitional duties will help them recover.
Functional Assessment
An assessment tool that provides objective data regarding the guidelines and limits by which an injured worker can safely and productively complete work tasks in relation to their employability.
Job Demands Analysis/ Job site
An analysis to evaluate a job to make a definitive statement about that job, its risks, requirements and productivity. A job-site analysis uses principles of ergonomics with respect to the WCB job-site analysis are primarily used as a precursor in developing return-to-work programs.
Return to Work/Stay at Work Plan
A return-to-work / stay at work plan is a tool for managers/supervisors/WCB contact to proactively help ill or injured employees return to productive employment in a timely and safe manner.
Return to Work Program/Stay at Work Program
A Return to Work Program is a formal documented process that outlines the roles and responsibilities of both the employer and the worker following an injury at work. The program should be signed by the Owner/CEO of the company and communicated on an annual basis to the general workforce.
Return to Work Team
Health care professionals which shall include occupational therapists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, kinesiologists, psychologists, physicians, vocational specialists, the injured worker, employer and the WCB case Worker.
My Account
WCB NS online reporting & tracking system
Direct Access to Assessment
Direct access to early assessment of sprains and strains at work provides injured workers more timely access to the healthcare services they need. It enables workers to go directly to a WCB approved healthcare provider, such as a physiotherapist or a chiropractor, for an assessment, allowing the return -to-work process for sprain & strain injuries to begin right away
What are transitional duties?
Transitional, or modified, duties are any temporary changes to an employees job that match what they can physically do. The goal is to keep employees at work during recovery, this is important for the employees physical and mental well-being.– From Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia

For more information click here

Below are suggested Transitional Duties/Modified Duties:

  • Provide modification to preinjury role
  • Safety Training Courses (links)
  • Light housekeeping. Sweeping, dusting, etc.
  • Administrative work/ slight mobility working
  • Replenish first aid cabinets
  • Reviewing Safe Work practices
  • Coming up with Control Methods, after incident
  • Painting
  • Ordering supplies
  • Pick up trash in yard and lot
  • Ensure fire extinguishers & eyewashes are up to date
  • Complete Workplace Inspections
  • Sort & deliver mail
  • Help in training of new employees
  • Update Safety Data Sheet manuals
  • Mow Lawns
  • Update safety bulletin board
  • Job shadow
  • Create wellness board, which may include emergency contacts, local community events, healthy recipes, etc.
  • Clean tools
  • Salt driveways during winter months
  • Inspect building/ machinery for maintenance repair
  • Help develop emergency procedures
  • Answer phone

Steps to take when an injury occurs

Initiate first aid. If needed call 911 and ensure employee get to hospital safely or get employee to Physical therapist/chiro.
Link to preferred providers.

Supervisor Initiate’s injury/Incident report.
Incident Report Form

Ensure WCB injury report is filled out and sent to WCB. The WCB must receive the report within 5 business days after the injury was reported to you.
WCB Injury Report Form

Ensure the Physical Abilities- report – Form E (What can an injured employee do), is completed by Physio when an employee’s injury is assessed.
Physical Abilities Form

Transportation Safety Board contact number –
Phone: 819-994-3741
1- 800-387-3557 (toll free in Canada)

Employers are required to send written notice of certain kinds of accidents to the Director of the Occupational Health and Safety Division of the Department of Labour.
If any of the Accidents listed below occur in your workplace call Department of Labor at 1-800-952-2687

Workplace Accidents
If… Written Notice is Required…
someone at the workplace is killed from any cause within 24 hours
there is an accidental explosion at the workplace (even if no one was hurt) within 24 hours
there is a fire or accident at the workplace that causes bodily injury to an employee within seven days

“Bodily injury” means unconsciousness, substantial blood loss, fracture of an arm or leg, amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot, burns to a major part of the body, loss of sight in an eye or any injury that places life in jeopardy.

Can the employee return to work?

Ensure a service provider assessment has taken place to determine what the employee is capable of doing

Yes, with regular duties.

Supervisor follow-up and continuous monitoring.

Yes, with modified duties (suggested modified duties above)

Determine employees’ abilities with physical therapist and place them in a suitable job.

Develop a plan with modified role. Alternate modified role with the employee’s regular duties.

Supervisor follow-up and continuous monitoring.

No, not functionally able to work

Maintain regular contact with employee.

Employee shall meet with Physical therapist/chiro or doctor regularly to determine employees physical abilities.