Modified work: prevalence and characteristics in a sample of workers with soft-tissue injuries

Publication type
Journal article
Brooker AS, Cole DC, Hogg-Johnson S, Smith J, Frank JW
Date published
2001 Mar 01
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Open Access?

Modified-work programs are designed to facilitate the return to work for employees with a work-related injury. Although extensive published literature exists that describes and evaluates 'ideal' programs, to date there is a paucity of data describing practice. To address this pertinent issue, we administered a survey to a large sample of 1833 workers with soft-tissue injuries in Ontario, Canada, and asked them detailed questions about modified work and employer contact. Our results reveal that most workers (66%) were contacted by someone from their workplace to check on how they were doing. However, only a minority (36%) were offered arrangements by their employer to help them return to work after developing a work-related soft-tissue injury. Most arrangements that were offered to injured workers consisted of such temporary modifications as reduced hours (24%), flexible work hours (25%), or a lighter job (57%) rather than more permanent changes to the way that work is conducted, such as changes to the work layout or equipment (8%). Merely being contacted by the workplace to check on how the worker was doing was not associated with reduced compensation benefit duration. Workplace offers of arrangements to help the worker return to work were associated with reduced compensation benefit duration but were not statistically associated with workers' pain grade