February 15, 2015
It only took a split second.

Anthony was working as a break press operator when it happened.

“I caught my knee on a piece of machinery and it, sort of…it didn’t bend it backwards, but it tweaked it backwards, and it destroyed all the cartilage and some of the tendons on the sides,” he said.

The doctor told him the injury was permanent. “I thought, I’m young, I can’t just sit around; there’s got to be something else,” he said.

Afterwards, Sharon, a Work Transition Specialist (WTS) from Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) worked with Anthony to assess what opportunities were available to him. Sharon looked at his past experience, education and interests; and after taking all factors into account, Anthony trained to become a Cardiology Technologist.

In looking back on the support he received from the WSIB he said, “They helped me when I didn’t know what I was looking for.”

With success in this program, Anthony, now 45, is enjoying the challenge. “I don’t just have a new job,” he said. “I have a new career that I love.”

Like Anthony, many seriously injured workers with support from the WSIB, may possibly find new careers, even when they cannot return to their pre-injury jobs.

The WSIB’s Work Transition program has created a renewed focus on helping people get back to work. It now offers faster and better care for injured workers than ever before. And thanks to major investments in customer service and technology, 92 per cent of injury claims are now decided within two weeks — many within 24 hours.

Every injury is unique and not all workers are able to return to their pre-injury jobs, however, most workers recover and return to work shortly after an injury. Statistics show that 88 per cent are off benefits within three months and 96 per cent are off benefits within a year.

Research shows the importance of doing some work — even light work — within 90 days of their injuries. Otherwise, the odds that they will ever return drop by 50 per cent.

The WSIB’s Return to Work Program employs around 300 staff to help workers return to their current workplace or assist those with more complicated cases. Their role also includes helping those who cannot return to their current workplace find alternative employment opportunities.

In the last year alone, WSIB Return to Work staff made more than 26,000 visits to workplaces to help injured workers get back, more safely and quickly, to their jobs.