Protocol for evaluating a workplace intervention within the framework of consultations for suffering at work in French-speaking Switzerland

Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2019 Jun 27;15:100400. doi: 10.1016/j.conctc.2019.100400. eCollection 2019 Sep.


Introduction: Psychosocial suffering involves diverse human, social and economic costs. Some 34.4% of workers in Switzerland report chronic stress related to their jobs. Medical consultations for suffering at work aim to maintain-or renew-patients' abilities to make decisions and act following a diagnosis of psychological suffering related to their work; they also aim to help workers return to their workstations or remain there. Workplace interventions by consulting occupational physicians can go beyond the subjective issues: they can be offered to employees, in anticipation of a return to work when this appears feasible from the outset.

Objective: To qualitatively evaluate perceptions of workplace interventions and identify their effects by collecting the verbatim statements of employees and their employers.

Materials and methods: Qualitative single-centre study of workplace interventions conducted by the Consultation Service for Suffering at Work's occupational physicians for patients seen between January 2015 to December 2017. Nineteen workplace interventions took place, out of 184 different consultations. The verbatim statements of employees and their employers will be collected over a variable timeframe, using semi-structured face-to-face interviews. These will then be recorded, transcribed and analysed. Fourteen patients refused the workplace intervention. Their professional path will be collected for comparison and exploratory purposes.

Conclusion: This exploratory research project will provide a better understanding of the issues surrounding work-related psychological suffering and of which strategies support patients most effectively.

Keywords: Consultation evaluation; Mental health; Occupational health; Research protocol; Workplace intervention.