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Creating Light Duty Jobs on Your Farm for Injured Workers

February 19, 2024

Farm work is tough, and even with solid safety protocols, accidents can happen. But what do you do when your valued employees get injured? Keeping them engaged and productive through a light duty program can benefit both your farm and your workforce.

Understanding the Stay at Work Program

Did you know about the Washington L&I Stay at Work Program? This program incentivizes employers to offer light duty jobs to injured workers. Offering affected employees light duty jobs could help you avoid a compensable claim and unnecessary work disability. Reimbursements can be as high as 50% of the worker's base wages, with a maximum of up to $10,000. That's no joke! 

To create a light duty job offer, take the following steps:

  1. Review Medical Restrictions: Understand what your employee can and cannot do based on their injury. The attending provider should create an Activity Prescription Form for you to reference. 
  2. Identify Suitable Tasks: Consider potential light duty jobs that fit the employee’s limitations. 
  3. Develop a Job Description: Complete the Employers Job Description Form based on the given restrictions using tasks you have available. Tailor the job description to the situation, accounting for equipment needs and training requirements.
  4. Seek provider approval: Send the job description to the attending provider. Get their sign-off to ensure the job aligns with the employee’s medical restrictions.
  5. Offer the Job and Apply for Reimbursements: Make it easy for your employee to return to work and maximize your program benefits.

It’s important to keep the original injury in mind as you build your light duty offer. You wouldn't want to offer a standing light duty job to someone who twisted their ankle. 

We suggest identifying light duty jobs on your farm at the beginning of every season. Don't forget to get your managers involved in this, as well. Ask if they have any odd jobs waiting to be done. Be sure to get specific information about how and where the job will get done. Is it an urgent task? Are there any restrictions on those who can complete the tasks (e.g., license or training requirements)? Answering these questions in advance will make it easier to complete all necessary paperwork should an employee get hurt on the job.

Keep in mind, regardless of how much legwork you do, some employees may decline a light duty job offer. Their refusal could result in a loss of workers' compensation payments. 

Benefits of Light Duty Jobs

For your farm, taking advantage of the light duty program means:

For your injured workers, light duty jobs promise:

Light Duty Job Ideas

Additional Tips:

Ready to keep your farm productive and your employees engaged, even when injuries happen? Embracing light duty programs and offering meaningful light duty jobs is a win-win solution. You'll reduce costs, maintain productivity, and foster a supportive workplace culture that values its people. And with Harvust by your side, your farm can weather any administrative storm, ensuring both your crops and your workforce flourish. Reach out today to discuss your needs regarding essential HR tasks.

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Becca Groche

Becca is a seasoned HR professional with over six years of experience in agriculture and adjacent industries. Before joining Harvust, she provided her expertise as a frontline HR representative at a large Washington tree fruit company for nearly three years. Becca has lived the life of Harvust's customers and knows exactly what they need. She brings that insight and emotional intelligence to bear supporting and advising Harvust customers everyday.