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Journal cover: International Journal of Workplace Health Management

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Online from: 2008

Subject Area: Health Care Management/Healthcare

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Successful return to work: the role of fairness and workplace-based strategies


Document Information:
Title:Successful return to work: the role of fairness and workplace-based strategies
Author(s):C. Gail Hepburn, (University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada, and Institute for Work and Health, Toronto, Canada), Renée-Louise Franche, (Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare, Vancouver, Canada, Institute for Work and Health, Toronto, Canada, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada and University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada), Lori Francis, (Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Canada)
Citation:C. Gail Hepburn, Renée-Louise Franche, Lori Francis, (2010) "Successful return to work: the role of fairness and workplace-based strategies", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 3 Iss: 1, pp.7 - 24
Keywords:Accidents, Business policy, Canada, Disabilities, Workplace
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/17538351011031902 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – Consistent with previous research, the purpose of this paper is to propose that the presence of workplace-based return-to-work strategies would reduce the duration of work disability. Moving beyond existing research, the paper further seeks to propose that these strategies would also enhance mental health and affective commitment among injured workers. In addition, the paper aims to introduce interactional justice – injured workers' perceptions of the interpersonal and informational fairness of the person most responsible for their return-to-work process – to the return-to-work context, and to hypothesize that these factors would also contribute to the explanation of these outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach – Within five weeks of their injury, telephone interviews were conducted with 166 workers from the province of Ontario, Canada, who had experienced musculoskeletal lost-time workplace injuries.

Findings – Multiple regression analyses indicate that certain workplace-based strategies were associated with days on compensation, self-reported days absent, and depressive symptoms, but not affective commitment. Further, as hypothesized, interactional justice accounted for additional variance explained in self-reported days absent, depressive symptoms, and affective commitment. Interactional justice did not explain additional variance in days on compensation.

Practical implications – The findings have implications for employers engaged in return-to-work practices and researchers studying return to work. Both should address not only the workplace-based strategies used, but also the way in which these strategies are implemented.

Originality/value – The paper replicates previous empirical work on return-to-work interventions and demonstrates the importance of the presence of workplace-based strategies in explaining the duration of work disability.



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