Workforce.com

Workers' Compensation Average Return-to-Work Time

June 4, 1999
There are no standards for how long it usually takes a person with an industrial injury to return to work. Keeping accurate records helps in tracking return-to-work averages and will yield an experiential record that helps determining averages for individual cases. The following is Steelcase's experience over the past 10 years. Although workers used to go out on workers' compensation from injuries and complications of the back, now they're sustaining more injuries to the upper extremities in the wrist, elbow, and arm.

Surgery for:

1982

1987

1992

Back

9-12 months

3-4 months

6-8 weeks

Carpal Tunnel

*

3-4 weeks

3-7 days

Shoulder

4-5 months

3-4 months

2-4 weeks

Elbow

3-4 months

2-3 months

4 weeks

Knee

4-6 months

3-4 months

1-2 weeks

Hernia

6-8 weeks

5-6 weeks

3 weeks

* No one was treated for carpal tunnel injury in 1982.

SOURCE: Steelcase Inc.

Personnel Journal, February 1993, Vol. 72, No. 2, p. 78.