Colorado’s largest workers’ compensation insurer, Pinnacol Assurance, recently launched an innovative “Return to Work” program that pairs injured workers with local nonprofits, allowing them “light duty” options that ease them back to work while supporting local causes.
Workers who cannot easily return to work while healing from an illness or injury can suffer mental health impacts and slower rehabilitation, and this can threaten their ability to return to the workforce full time. This program helps employees return to work while demonstrating that their employer values and cares about them, even when they are not at full productivity. Employers want to see them whole and healthy again.
Pinnacol return to work consultants, who typically work with employers to find “light” or “modified duty” options for healing workers, will pair workers with nonprofits if that’s a good option for them. Return to work consultants will track employee progress while they are volunteering and work with policyholders to plan their employee’s return to full duty when they are medically cleared to do so.
Pinnacol Return to Work director, Nevine Laughlin, adds, “Even as injured workers ease back into volunteering only a few hours a week, they see benefits such as opportunities to interact with others in a professional environment, the chance to test their bodies and provide feedback to their physician, and a return to the structure that regular work provides. Pinnacol policyholders leverage this program as an opportunity to help injured workers heal faster while they remain engaged in productive work, support local nonprofits in their community and manage workers’ compensation insurance costs.”
Workers can do a variety of tasks at local nonprofits such as desk work, sorting and hanging donated clothes, assembling boxes of food, stocking food, answering phones, light cleaning and organizing, greeting volunteers, delivering donations via car, and decorating bags for medical food deliveries.
Pinnacol return to work consultants are currently working with the following nonprofits throughout Colorado to offer light-duty options for injured workers:
- Denver Health Foundation – Newborns in Need, Denver
- Food Bank for Larimer County, Loveland and Fort Collins
- Loveland Habitat for Humanity, Loveland
- Goodwill Industries (statewide)
- Grand Junction Habitat for Humanity, Grand Junction
- Eagle Valley Community Foundation, Gypsum and Edwards
- Project Angel Heart, Denver and Colorado Springs
- Jeffco Action Center, Lakewood
- ARC, multiple locations across the state
- Weld County Food Bank. Greeley
- Habitat ReStore, Littleton, Denver, Aurora
- Care and Share Food Bank/Resale store, Colorado Springs
- Sharing Ministries Food Bank, Montrose