The Effect of a Job Placement and Support Program for Workers with Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Randomized Control Trial (RCT) Study


Background This is a randomized clinical trial (RCT) to investigate the efficacy of a job placement and support program designed for workers with musculoskeletal injuries and having difficulties in resuming the work role. The program was planned to help injured workers to successfully return to work (RTW) by overcoming the difficulties and problems during the process of job seeking and sustaining a job using a case management approach. Methodology A total of 66 injured workers were recruited and randomly assigned into the job placement and support group (PS group) or the self-placement group (SP group). A three-week job placement and support program was given to subjects in the PS group while subjects in the control group (SP group) were only given advice on job placement at a workers’ health center. The PS program was comprised of an individual interview, vocational counseling, job preparation training, and assisted placement using the case management approach. The Chinese Lam Assessment of Stages of Employment Readiness (C-LASER), the Chinese State Trait and Anxiety Inventory (C-STAI), and the SF-36 were the outcome measures for the two groups before and after the training program to observe the changes in subjects’ work readiness status, emotional status and their health related quality of life pre- and post-training program. The rate of return to work was measured for both groups of subjects after the training program. Results The results indicated that the rate of success in RTW (73%) was significantly higher in the job placement (PS) group than that of the self-placement (SP) group (51.6%) with P < 0.05. Significant differences were also found in C-STAI (P < 0.05), SF-36 (P < 0.05) and C-LASER scores on action (P < 0.05) between the two groups. Conclusion The job placement (PS) program appeared to have enhanced the employability of injured workers. Workers who participated in the program also showed higher levels of work readiness and emotional status in coping with their work injuries.

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The authors would like to acknowledge all the workers who had kindly agreed to participate in this research study. Special thanks to the two funding bodies, The Institute for Enterprise (IfE), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Hong Kong Workers’ Health Center under the Teaching Company Scheme. Finally, the authors would also like to thank Mr. Henky Chan and colleagues from the Hong Kong Workers’ Health Center for their contribution to this project.

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Correspondence to E. J. Q. Li.

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Li-Tsang, C.W.P., Li, E.J.Q., Lam, C.S. et al. The Effect of a Job Placement and Support Program for Workers with Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Randomized Control Trial (RCT) Study. J Occup Rehabil 18, 299–306 (2008).

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  • Occupational rehabilitation
  • Job placement
  • Injured workers
  • Randomized clinical trial (RCT)