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Preventing Disability From Occupational Musculoskeletal Injuries in an Urban, Acute and Tertiary Care Hospital: Results from a Prevention and Early Active Return-to-Work Safely Program

Davis, Philip Mark BSc, PhD; Badii, Maziar MD, FRCPC; Yassi, Annalee MD, MSc, FRCPC

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2004 - Volume 46 - Issue 12 - p 1253-1262
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000147207.83079.04
Original Articles

Objective: Healthcare workers are at high risk for musculoskeletal injuries. A program was developed to decrease the incidence of musculoskeletal injuries and the duration of associated time loss.

Methods: A program combining primary prevention and on-site early intervention was implemented at a large, urban hospital. Incidence rates were compared using Poisson regression. Cox regression was used to analyze the time to return to regular duties.

Results: Although there was no reduction in incidence, the program was effective in returning injured employees to work more promptly for registered nurses and health science professionals (therapists, technicians), although not for facility support staff.

Conclusions: Overall savings in time loss and compensation payments were realized. However, better integration of prevention and follow-up efforts are needed, and greater attention to the sociopolitical environment is required to improve outcomes for facility support staff.

From the Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Address correspondence to: Annalee Yassi, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Canada Research Chair, Tier 1, Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare., 301-1195 West Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3X5, Canada; E-mail:

©2004The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine