A startling, interesting, new Dutch study has shown that Workplace intervention programs, that are designed to help injured workers, have no overall effect on achieving a lasting return to work! At last, the truth!
Researchers found intervention does not help return to work
Dutch researchers analysed injured workers who were off work (listed sick) for two to eight weeks, showed signs of distress, and were involved in a workplace intervention program.
The participatory workplace intervention was a stepwise process involving the injured workers and their supervisor, aimed at reducing obstacles for return to work by reaching consensus about an action plan for return to work.
Results were measured on lasting return to work, cumulative sickness absence and stress-related symptoms (within a 12-month follow-up) and compared with workers receiving ‘usual care’.
However, the workplace intervention ‘significantly’ reduced the time until lasting return to work was achieved for injured workers who intended to return to work despite their ongoing symptoms.
Those employees returned to work after 55 days in the workplace intervention group compared to 120 days in the usual care group.
[The study was published in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.]