The purpose of this study was to investigate and evaluate the current workplace management of rotator cuff injuries in a manufacturing plant. The secondary aims were to examine the impact of the company's return-to-work processes, compare outcomes to current industry standards for work (re)entry and to identify the components that characterized this workplace--based return-to-work (RTW) program. This investigation involved a case study approach comprised of an examination of the program context using interviews, onsite visits, a document review and a retrospective analysis of the RTW experiences of 184 workers with shoulder injuries. Findings revealed that the workplace-based RTW program was consistent with and shaped by the organizational culture of problem solving, knowledge exchange and equitable participation of workers, supervisors and health professionals. These components contributed to the program in achieving the following outcomes for workers with shoulder injuries. One-third of workers were placed on modified duties within three days, 56% of workers who engaged in an early RTW program returned to work within one month. Overall, 87.8% of workers with rotator cuff injuries successfully returned to pre-injury work. The implications of developing capacity for workplace-based programs to manage injuries at work are discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/drlynn/35/