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Worker's Comp

Workers' compensation, also known as workmans' comp, is a state-mandated insurance program that provides compensation to employees who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses. It represents an important and significant portion of the health care system.  Many of those employee’s injured on the job suffer musculoskeletal related injuries and orthopaedic surgeons play a significant role in their treatment and recovery process.

The federal government administers a workers' comp program for federal and certain other types of employees,however, each state has its own laws and programs for workers' compensation. For current information on workers' comp in your state, contact your state's workers' compensation office. (You can find links to the appropriate office in your state on the State Workers' Compensation Officials page of the U.S. Department of Labor's website.)

If you are a resident of Connecticut, you can visit the Connecticut website for The Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) and obtain whatever forms you may need. You can utilize this resource-rich website to obtain any questions you may have, obtain contact information, and to download forms.  Visit http://wcc.state.ct.us/

You can also contact them at their information line, 1-800-223-9675 (Toll-free in Connecticut)

If you are injured at work:

  • You need to file a First Report of Injury with your employer
  • Then call our office to make an appointment at (203) 865-6784
  • You will need to supply date of injury
  • You will need to supply the Workers Compensation Claim # from your insurance carrier
  • Workers Compensation Insurance Carrier claim address
  • Name,address , phone number of Workers Comp Adjuster handling your case
  • We will need you to provide us with all of your private health insurance information. In the event that workers comp denies your case, we will need this information to bill your private carrier in a timely filing manner.
Exercise and Work Simulation to Re-Establish Maximum Work Capacity

By Michael Dechello MS, PT

Following a low back injury only 50% of the workers who have been off work for 6 months ever return to work, only 25% return to work after being off work for one year, and a negligible percent return to work having been off for two years.  The longer an injured worker is out or work, the less likely will return to their previous work capacity level.  The key to avoiding this problem is a focus on an early return to work!

An early return of the injured worker maximizes coping skills, functional capacity and normal activity levels.  The overall goal of any injured worker rehabilitation program is to shorten the time frame from onset of injury to a productive return to the work force.  The most efficient outcome is achieved when there is immediate intervention following an injury.  Then the acute phase of a musculoskeletal injury can be quickly addressed by the medical provider and an appropriate treatment regime established.

In the acute and later phases of recovery, injured workers benefit from physical therapy services.  Early physical therapy intervention will help with early motion, reducing pain and swelling, and reinforce a healthy attitude to an early return to work.  Many injured workers who receive appropriate early care return to their job without additional rehabilitation services.  Modified work arrangements can also be very productive in maintaining the injured workers attitude.  As in all injuries, the severity of the injury will determine the length of formal physical therapy.  However, after the acute phase a specific work condition program is the best way to assure a rapid return to the pre-injured level of work.

The critical demand level of work helps us develop an effective rehab approach.  Sedentary work level is easy to transition from physical therapy back to full duty.  When the physical demand level required by the worker increases, the challenge to return the worker also increases.  To bridge the gap from formal physical therapy to return to work, we create an aggressive return to work program tailored for each specific worker.  In those patients who are unable to return to work because of unresolved physical problems or who have not reached their full work capacity, the focus changes to restoration of work related function.

The American Physical Therapy Association, Occupational Health Physical Therapy* defines work conditioning as a program which addresses the physical issues of flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination, and work-related function for the global outcome of return to work.  Well organized Work Conditioning programs consist of a specific Operational Goal

ProPT has been providing Work Conditioning services for the past 3 years and currently expanding its services in their New Haven facility with dedicated space to provide services exclusively for the injured worker.  ProPT return to work program currently offers:

Expert Acute Post injury Management Comprehensive Work Conditioning Program

  • Job Site Assessment 
  • Ergonomic Evaluation    
  • Functional Capacity Evaluation
  • Patient/Client Eligibility

To be eligible for Work Conditioning, a patient must:

  • Have identified systemic neuromusculoskeletal physical and functional deficits that interfere with work;
  • Have a return to work goal;
  • Have stated or demonstrated willingness to participate.

For more information regarding a Work Conditioning Program or other work related services, please contact:
Michael DeChello MS,PT
Director of Physical Therapy
(203) 789-8873

Recognizing Hazards in the Workplace

Recognizing Hazards in the Workplace
By Dave Spak, PTA, BS

Workplace injury prevention and maintaining a safe environment is a team effort. All occupations and types of industry are plagued with pitfalls and hazards inherent to their particular product or service. Recognizing these hazards is essential for avoiding them. According to the Occupational Safety and Health administration, (OSHA) a worker is injured every 5 seconds. In 2008, sprain or strain injuries accounted for 39 percent of total injury and illness cases requiring days away from work, 45 percent of those sprains or strains were the result of overexertion. Bodily reaction (such as bending, reaching, twisting, or slipping without falling) accounted for another 22 percent. Workplace hazards know no boundaries and can appear in any environment. Essentially, no one has a completely safe, hazard free job.

Office worker/business environment, although safe from the dangers of heavy machinery and automotive- related injury, do have workplace hazards that may not be as easily recognized as such. A large percentage of workplace injuries are classified as repetitive stress injury(RSI). RSI often occur with activity that we may take for granted , such as sitting for prolonged periods without movement, writing/typing, poor postural management may adversely affect your health and well-being if the conditions are correct. This classification of injury is the cause of musculoskeletal disorders afflicting nearly 7 percent of the working population in the U.S. and, for the most part, can be prevented fairly easily. Recognition of a potential problem is the first step in avoiding injury. Most RSI can often be avoided by changing your routine with minor alterations. Simply put, “take the repetition out of the routine”, lessen the possibility of a repetitive stress injury. For example, sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day is a task many face every workday; being aware of your posture, especially when sitting is imperative for a healthy back. Taking precautions preemptively will help you stay healthy and avoid becoming one of the statistics of RSI. To reduce your chances of injury, take a few steps in avoiding the pitfalls…

  • Shorten prolonged static positioning; simply repositioning or standing up momentarily can reduce fatigue and stress on the body
  • Maintain a good postural awareness with your activity; smart body mechanics will reduce any undue stress and lower your risk
  • Make sure that your workstation is ergonomically situated for you and your work needs
  • Take an occassional break from your repetitious activities
  • Simple stretching at your work station can be helpful

Work conditions vary through the workforce, so let's travel to a completely different part of the work hazard spectrum. Construction, law enforcement and heavy equipment operation are just a small example of the physically taxing occupations that expose employees to a never-ending array of hazards while at work. As mentioned earlier, all occupations will have its own inherent hazards and pitfalls. When working on job sites, or as in law enforcement, a constantly changing environment; the employee must remain diligent about surveying their surroundings, thereby identifying and minimizing the hazards they are exposed to. In this type of case scenario, having and using the correct equipment for the job should be an important first step in avoiding possible injury. Job task safety and effectiveness are critically challenged when the necessary tools are not implemented. First and foremost, wearing the appropriate clothing and footwear is an important first step for the employee to avoid potential injury. Loose clothing can get caught in moving parts, become a fire hazard or fail to protect the employee from exposure to chemical agents being used. Utilizing machinery designed for the task at hand and in the correct manner will lessen the physical exertion of the worker, thus allowing increased productivity without increasing the danger of possible injury. The employee needs to have the understanding that…

  • he/she is equally responsible with the employer in identifying possible hazards
  • he/she should have the appropriate training prior to starting a job task
  • he/she should not take on a job task that appears to be unsafe MSDS sheets (material safety data sheets) are kept for their purposes and the employees should be familiar with them.
  • mechanical safeguards must be utilized at all times
  • personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used at all times
  • if an injury occurs, it needs to be reported immediately

Workplace injury happens every day, the key to reducing this injury is education. Have the understanding that your job, no matter what it may entail, has workplace hazards. A simple observation of your environment may help you in identifying them. Once these hazards are identified, take the appropriate steps to reduce your exposure to them. The most important thing to be aware of; you are your first line of defense in avoiding injury.