It has long been the goal of the occupational health specialist to avoid significant impairment or disability from debilitating injury at the work place. This paper is a description of effective and ineffective management strategies with disabling work injuries. Starting proactively with a preventive safety and health program, many of these injuries can be prevented or lessened significantly. When injury does occur, we must examine what can be done to ensure speedy recovery. The elements of prevention, including personal protective programs, ergonomics and pre-placement exams are reviewed. Injury care from early intervention with careful planning of case management involving all providers is also examined, as is the use of rehabilitation for early return to work including work conditioning and work hardening. Also included is how disability guides and a transitional work program can increase rapid recovery. Ultimately, although each element is essential as part of a good management program, the key to success lies in a good employee/employer relationship.
Keywords: Case management; Disability; Injury; Preventive programs; Return to work; Work conditioning.