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Extended work hours should factor into return to job after injury
Date:1/16/2008

edules, Dembe said. Such adjustments might include alerting management to the possibility that recovering employees making long commutes could have special problems returning to a full-time schedule. Rehabilitation specialists also could design a phased return to a long-hour work schedule to avoid reinjury or the inability to meet employment demands.

Dembe's previous work and other studies have demonstrated that employees working nonstandard shifts are already at higher risk for suffering an occupational injury or illness the most common injuries are musculoskeletal conditions and cuts, bruises and fractures making rehabilitative efforts associated with their return to work even more important, Dembe said.

Currently, occupational rehabilitation specialists tend to focus on getting workers back to productive employment by evaluating their ability to perform functional tasks according to a standardized assessment tool that simulates workplace activities. And occupational health case managers coordinate return-to-work planning, including rehabilitative care, for injured employees. Neither specialty emphasizes what the occupational health industry calls work organization, which encompasses employment schedules, supervisory training and other practices that influence how jobs and human resources policies are structured.

Present solutions are one- or two-dimensional, and do not take into account the employment schedule, Dembe said. Any rehabilitation focusing on the return to work should include this whole picture to facilitate an effective result. We need to expand the thinking about what to do for a successful return to work.


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Contact: Allard Dembe
adembe@cph.osu.edu
614-292-2129
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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