Choose a health care provider who does a good job of communicating with both you and your employees regarding work-related injuries.

Your goal should be to find a provider who’s committed to a safe, early-return-to-work policy, and will be willing to openly communicate with you and your employee about care, treatment and potential work restrictions, says Steve Kirkhorn, medical director of Occupational Health Services at the Immanuel-St. Joesph’s-Mayo Health System in Mankato, Minn.

To find a provider who fits this profile, begin by asking these questions:

1. Does the health care provider know anything about occupational health issues in agriculture?
2. Is the physician or other health care provider willing to visit your dairy to see first-hand the physical requirements for specific jobs?
3. Does the health care provider support a safe, early-return-to-work philosophy?
4. Is there a contact person who can answer your questions about an employee’s work restrictions?

For more information, check out the March 2002 issue of Gempler’s ALERT. Contact Gempler’s Inc. at: (800) 382-8473 for subscription information.