Definition of Sedentary Work Restrictions

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Serious injuries or surgery may lead to decreased ability to perform normal tasks when returning to work.
Serious injuries or surgery may lead to decreased ability to perform normal tasks when returning to work. (Image: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Injuries, whether they happen on the job or off, can affect work performance. Returning to work after an injury sometimes requires restrictions in the day-to-day tasks of a position, depending on the job. Work restrictions are necessary to allow a patient to return to work to earn a living while taking the time to heal completely. If a patient would return to normal work duties when not fully recovered, they risk further injury.

Returning to Work After an Injury

When a patient has a serious injury, surgery or other severe condition, they will require an extended time to recover. The patient may, however, return to work before the healing process is fully complete. This is possible with restrictions on work activities or duties that can be performed. Work restrictions allow a patient to return to work while continuing to heal.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act

Work restrictions vary depending on the type of injury. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to make "reasonable accommodations" for employees with a disability. The Family and Medical Leave Act also cover extended injuries and returning to work after an injury. The treating physician will make a determination whether work restrictions are required for the patient. Documentation is usually required by an employer stating work restrictions and an estimated time when the employee will be able to return to work.

Types of Work Restrictions

Sedentary, lifting and break regimen restrictions are the most common types of work restrictions for a patient returning to work following an injury or surgery. Sedentary work restrictions means only job duties that can be performed sitting down are recommended for a particular patient returning to work. Lifting restrictions limit the amount of weight a patient can pick up upon returning to job duties. Break regimen restrictions are when a patient is required to take a break at regular intervals to avoid over exertion.

Sedentary Work Restrictions

Sedentary work restrictions must be implemented by the treating physician. The legal definition of sedentary work restrictions,, as defined by the Social Security Administration is "lifting no more than 10 pounds, and sitting with occasional walking." Standing and walking should account for no more than two hours of an eight-hour work day.

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