Medically Necessary or Not!
The WorkCover Tasmania (IS-083) 'Time of work: what's medically necessary?' states:
For most workplace injuries, time off work is not medically necessary and returning to work is your healthiest option. Medically necessary time off work means you're totally incapacitated and need hospitalisation or strict bed rest. It may also mean that work or travelling to work is medically not advisable. This applies to both physical and psychological injuries and illnesses.
Time off work under these situations ensures that the injury or illness will not significantly deteriorate, the recovery will not be delayed, and harm is not caused to the injured worker or others.
Severe injuries do occur, and some injuries do result in ones functional capacity being affected (that is, how capable someone is of performing the tasks that are necessary or desirable in their lives). But it's uncommon that you would have absolutely no functional capacity.
Accommodate your Mate!
There is no absolute obligation for an employer to provide alternative duties, however, when they do, how can others at the workplace be helpful?
Cooperate if your employer asks you to take on a different task i.e. to give your role to the injured employee.
Be patient with the patient, they may have to work slower than normal or may be out of practice in the new role.
Be accommodating, who knows, they may return the favour and help you out at some point in the future.
View this article in Safety Bulletin 120