, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 1-25
Date: 17 Jun 2014

Good Intentions? Employer Representative Conceptualizations and, Challenges to the Workplace Accommodation Process: The Case of Electrical Injuries

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Abstract

Returning to work following an electrical injury can be challenging due to the confluence of physical, cognitive, and psychosocial impairments that may arise. Workplace accommodations aim to facilitate return to work and workers’ participation in the workplace. To date, there has been no qualitative study of workplace accommodations following electrical injuries or any in-depth examination of how employers conceptualize and implement workplace accommodations. This study examines workplace accommodations for individuals who suffered electrical injuries at the workplace from employer representative perspectives. Ten in-depth semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with twelve employer representatives who work within the electrical sector in Ontario, Canada. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes related to the identification, provision and implementation of accommodations. Findings are discussed in relation to five themes: i) employers’ beliefs related to returning injured workers to work; ii) employers’ conceptualizations of accommodations and the types of accommodations provided; iii) knowledge and process elements relevant to the provision and implementation of workplace accommodations; iv) challenges to the accommodation process; and v) supports that employers drew upon to facilitate the identification and provision of accommodations. Recommendations are provided for enhancing knowledge regarding electrical injuries, human rights policies related to workplace accommodations, examining challenges related to privacy and discrimination and enhanced supports for employers to facilitate the provision of accommodations.