Perspectives on workplace disability management: a review of the literature

Work. 2002;19(1):87-93.


Work-related musculoskeletal injuries represent a major source of work disability. While many employers recognize the importance of workplace disability management approaches and are assuming greater responsibility for preventing and minimizing work-related disability, questions about the effectiveness of these interventions exist. The purposes of this article are to: 1) describe the essential components of workplace disability management programs related to musculoskeletal injuries; 2) review the literature on disability management practices based on research evidence by focussing on workplace-based interventions and the role of the workplace; and 3) provide recommendations for disability management in the prevention and reduction of disability, and the rehabilitation of injured workers with musculoskeletal work injuries. The literature suggests that employer participation, a supportive work climate and cooperation between labour and management are crucial factors in facilitating return to work. Given the complexity of the disability management process and the numbers of individuals involved, it is essential that all workplace parties work together to achieve the goal of safe and early return to work.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Canada
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Organizational Policy
  • Program Evaluation
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational*
  • Work Capacity Evaluation
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Workplace*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control
  • Wounds and Injuries / rehabilitation