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Stakeholders, Barriers, and Risk Management for Return-to-Work Programs



There are a number of parties that must be in contact with each other in order for an employee to return to work as early as possible and also in the most safe and efficient manner possible:

a. Worker (recovering from illness or injury)

b. Employer (immediate supervisor, HR, OH&S)

c. Healthcare provider (attending physician, occupational health and safety nurse, specialists)

d. Union (if applicable)

e. Insurance provider (WCB, health benefits provider)

f. Disability management company (3rd party managing the RTW) Barriers to RTW These must be identified and addressed as soon as possible in order to mitigate the employee’s absence from the workplace.

a. Administrative – these are delays in communication and paperwork processing that are a result of an oversight or excessive workload

b. Stigma – employees often feel stigmatized when returning to work for a number of reasons. For example, the organizational culture may not support disability management programming or the disability might be invisible and employee senses resentment from co-workers about the accommodations they are receiving.

c. Psychosocial factors – the employee may not feel ready to deal with the stress of their job and might resist returning to work.

Risk Management

It is important to assess the level of safety risk for a RTW employee. Consider the following:

a. Does the employee have a poor personal safety record before the onset of the disability?

b. Does the employee have a history of performance issues including discipline?

c. How likely is the employee to be injured again or to exacerbate the current injury?

d. Has sufficient corrective action taken place to make sure work instructions, equipment and PPE requirements reflect the identified hazards?

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