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1. Examine different ways to administer disability management and return to work programs.

2. Explain the role that leadership teams and human resources plays in creating a safe work environment.

Laws applicable in XYZ Company

XYZ Company is headquartered in Calgary and has its remote operations in Northern Alberta. These remote locations acts as a base from where the Field Service Technicians can work from and collect field samples. The company also has other remote sites in BC and Alberta from where the operatives collect the environmental samples.

The work requires the technicians working in harsh outdoor conditions, bearing heat during the summers and snow during the winters, often carrying heavy equipment and driving heavy vehicles exposing the workers to several occupational hazards. In the given case scenario, John Smith have developed morbid obesity during his tenure which further led to his disability and inability to continue his work.

Laws and Acts that are applicable to this situation includes:

Canada Occupational Health and Safety Act

Canada Labor Code

Westray Memorandum of Understanding

Employment Equity Act

(Lay et al., 2016; Yazdani et al., 2015; Shea et al., 2016)





People Focused Climate

Organization focuses on a safety discipline

Employees receive training on policies and procedures when they join the organization. They are required to participate in weekly meetings on safety.

Training and meetings on safe working practices and safety policies.

Prevention Focus

Safety records are maintained. Safety audits are done regularly to identify hazards and safety incidents.

No preventative training is provided. Employees are only informed of the policies and standard practices.

No education or intervention is given. Instead company focuses on disciplining individuals not following the standard practices or causing safety incidents.

Early Intervention and Education

Organization does not focus on intervention and education.

Regular meetings are compulsory. Employees with more than two security incidents are terminated.

Employees have to read scenarios during the meetings.

Return to Work Case Management

Organization does not have a set procedure for return to work case management. There is confusion as to whether the HR or the OH&S department is responsible for oversight of return to work.

Employees with more than two security incidents are usually fired.

Employee informs about employee statistics and safety awards.

Integrated Claims Management and Monitoring Systems

Confusion regarding the oversight of responsibility between HR and OH&S.

The confusion causes delay in paperwork and extends loss of pay for employee.

Proper communication does not exist to inform the employee.

In order to improve the disability program in the organization, the following can be recommended:

  1. Setting up a clear responsibilities for safety management
  2. Implementing effective communication strategies
  • Setting up clear return to work procedures and its responsible party
  1. Implementing regular training for the employee on safety practices
  2. Ensuring regular assessment of employee health
  3. Involving social support for disabled employees
  • Developing better and more modified job options

(Schultz-Krohn et al., 2018; Walker&Krauss, 2016; Nery-Hurwit et al., 2017)

The following outcomes can be expected from the suggestions above:

  1. It will prevent confusion as to who is responsible for maintaining safety and safety practices
  2. Effective transfer of information between the departments and no confusion
  • Clear and unambiguous return to work policies
  1. Reduction in the number of in incidents and defaulters
  2. Better understanding of employee health condition and potential risks to their wellbeing
  3. Better continuity of support for the disabled employees
  • More options of return to work for employee with temporary disability and providing continuity of employment for permanently disabled employees.

(Schultz-Krohn et al., 2018; Walker & Krauss, 2016; Nery-Hurwit et al., 2017)

John Smith have been classified as morbidly obese and have suffered knee injury while working in his garage in the weekend. He was prescribed anti-inflammatory medications and was advised to use crutches while walking. However due to prolonged use of crutch, he developed a problem in his arm which limits hos ability to use crutch. Due to this is no longer able to move much, unable to use his crutch for a long time and also unable to drive because of his knee condition. He currently receives 66% of his regular income as STD payment but is inadequate to cover his expenses. In such a condition, the modification strategy that can be suggested for John Smith is to give him supported and sheltered work in which he would not be required to move around, such as a desk job.

The functional ability assessment of John Smith provides the following information:

  1. Morbid Obesity
  2. Knee Injury which prevents him from driving
  • Chronic Pain
  1. Arm condition that prevents prolonged use of crutches
  2. Cannot lift heavy objects
  3. Lifting or lowering of objects: only with light weight for short intervals and low frequency
  • Lifting and lowring objects above shoulder: only with light weight for short intervals and low frequency
  • Pushing objects at waist and shoulder level: unable to push objects of any weight
  1. Puling objects at waist or shoulder level: unable to pull objects of any weight

(Opdebeeck et al., 2016)

The stakeholders who can be involved in the given case scenario can include the workers who are recovering from illness or injury, the employer (as well as the immediate supervisor, HR and OH&S managers), workers union, healthcare providers and occupational therapists, governing bodies and insurance company(Leka et al., 2017; Sinelnikov et al., 2015). Communication between the stakeholders can be determined by the governing bodies and the employers(Lashgari, 2018).

Strategies to improve the disability program

The different barriers to returning to work for John Smith can include the following factors:

  1. Administrative barrier created by the ambiguity in the responsibility of managing RTW causing delays in paperwork. This can be prevented by ensuring a clear line of responsibility and actions related to RTW(Knott et al., 2014).
  2. Barriers due to stigma and body image of the employee- since Mr Smith has morbid obesity, a condition which is stigmatized, it lead to a barrier in RTW. This can be overcome by enforcing strict policies in workplace against harassment and also educating the employees on Mr Smith’s condition and return to work conditions(Knott et al., 2014).

The following risk factors needs to be taken into conditions for Mr Smith’s RTW:

  1. Morbid obesity
  2. Arm condition
  • Limited mobility
  1. Knee problem

XYZ company is involved in environmental services, employing 2500 staff across Canada and a part of the job profile involves outdoor work such as collection of samples under different and often extreme environmental condition. The work also involves many of the employees driving for long hours and lifting heavy load from time to time. Mr John Smith who joined the organization 5 years ago was initially overweight, but due to the nature of work, he developed morbid obesity, which affected his knee and resulted in limitation of his mobility. Due to his weight he also finds it difficult to use crutch for long time as a result of which he is unable to walk. He is receiving 66% of his pay as disability bonus, however it is important for him to regain his job for his sustainability, It is recommended that a shelter based light job be given to him to allow him to return to work.


Knott, V., Zrim, S., Shanahan, E. M., Anastassiadis, P., Lawn, S., Kichenadasse, G., ... & Koczwara, B. (2014). Returning to work following curative chemotherapy: A qualitative study of return to work barriers and preferences for intervention. Supportive Care in Cancer, 22(12), 3263-3273.

Lashgari, M. (2018). Digital Marketing Strategy: B2B and Stakeholders Communication (Doctoral dissertation, KTH Royal Institute of Technology).

Lay, A. M., Saunders, R., Lifshen, M., Breslin, C., LaMontagne, A., Tompa, E., & Smith, P. (2016). Individual, occupational, and workplace correlates of occupational health and safety vulnerability in a sample of Canadian workers. American journal of industrial medicine, 59(2), 119-128.

Leka, S., Jain, A., Zwetsloot, G., Andreou, N., & Hollis, D. (2017). The changing landscape of occupational health and safety policy in the UK: key developments and implications for stakeholders.

Nery-Hurwit, M., Kincl, L., Driver, S., & Heller, B. (2017). Stakeholder evaluation of an online program to promote physical activity and workplace safety for individuals with disability. Evaluation and program planning, 63, 39-44.

Opdebeeck, C., Martyr, A., & Clare, L. (2016). Cognitive reserve and cognitive function in healthy older people: a meta-analysis. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 23(1), 40-60.

Schultz-Krohn, W., Carey, R., Dail, R., & Endish, P. (2018). Effectiveness of an Occupational Therapy Work Readiness Program for Homeless Parents. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(4_Supplement_1), 7211515227p1-7211515227p1.

Shea, T., De Cieri, H., Donohue, R., Cooper, B., & Sheehan, C. (2016). Leading indicators of occupational health and safety: An employee and workplace level validation study. Safety science, 85, 293-304.

Sinelnikov, S., Inouye, J., & Kerper, S. (2015). Using leading indicators to measure occupational health and safety performance. Safety science, 72, 240-248.

Walker, J. M., & Krauss, S. A. (2016). Assessing occupational disability following trauma and impairment. In Assessing Impairment (pp. 283-302). Springer, Boston, MA.

Yazdani, A., Neumann, W. P., Imbeau, D., Bigelow, P., Pagell, M., Theberge, N., ... & Wells, R. (2015). How compatible are participatory ergonomics programs with occupational health and safety management systems?. Scandinavian journal of work, environment & health, 111-123.

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