Return-to-work after work-related injury in the construction sector: a scoping review

Publication type
Journal article
Sharpe K, Afshar T, St-Hilaire F, McLeod CB
Date published
2022 Feb 01
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Open Access?

Purpose Construction remains one of the most hazardous and disabling industries worldwide. This scoping review was completed to identify barriers and facilitators related to return-to-work (RTW) after work injury in the construction industry and gaps in the literature. Methods We searched ten databases from 1990 to 2020 for academic and grey literature. Two independent reviewers screened citations for inclusion. One team member charted the data and a second team member reviewed the coding. Articles were included if they identified any barriers or facilitators to RTW in the construction industry. The findings were synthesized into overarching themes. Results Our search identified 6706 articles for screening, with 22 articles included in the final sample. Three articles used qualitative methods, while the remaining articles were quantitative. The majority of articles were from North America and published in academic journals. Overall, findings are organized under seven main themes: worker sociodemographic characteristics; injury characteristics; worker motivation; workplace goodwill; modified work and disability management; work disability systems; and access to healthcare. Some barriers and facilitators are more relevant to the construction industry compared with the general working population. Conclusions: The findings suggest that accommodations are possible for this industry but barriers still exist in identifying suitable work. More research is needed to investigate the role of union involvement, work disability management systems, gender, and organizational characteristics, such as multiple worksites, in relation to RTW in the construction industry.