Advertisement

Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 129–142 | Cite as

Employee Perspectives on the Role of Supervisors to Prevent Workplace Disability After Injuries

  • William S. Shaw
  • Michelle M. Robertson
  • Glenn Pransky
  • Robert K. McLellan
Article

Abstract

After workplace injuries, supervisors can play an important role in aiding workers, accessing health care services, and providing reasonable accommodation. However, few studies have identified those aspects of supervisor involvement most valued by employees for postinjury recovery and return to work. As part of needs assessment for a supervisory training program, 30 employees from four companies were interviewed about the role of supervisors to prevent workplace disability after injuries. From interview notes, 305 employee statements were extracted for analysis. An affinity mapping process with an expert panel produced 11 common themes: accommodation, communicating with workers, responsiveness, concern for welfare, empathy/support, validation, fairness/respect, follow-up, shared decision-making, coordinating with medical providers, and obtaining coworker support of accommodation. Interpersonal aspects of supervision may be as important as physical work accommodation to facilitate return to work after injury.

disability management supervisors work injuries qualitative interviews 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. 1.
    National Research Council. Musculoskeletal disorders and the workplace: Low back and upper extremities. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Akabas SH, Gates LB, Galvin DE. Disability management: A complete system to reduce costs, increase productivity, meet employee needs, and ensure legal compliance. New York: American Management Association, 1992.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Gates LB. The role of the supervisor in successful adjustment to work with a disabling condition: Issues for disability policy and practice. J Occup Rehabil 1993; 3: 179-190.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Margoshes BG, Webster BS. Why do occupational injuries have different health outcomes? In: Mayer TG, Gatchel RJ, Polatin PB, eds. Occupational musculoskeletal disorders 2001; 13: 131-138.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Cheadle A, Franklin G, Wolfhagen C, Savarino J, Liu PY, Salley C, Weaver M. Factors influencing the duration of work-related disability: A population-based study of Washington State workers' compensation. Am J Public Health 1994; 84: 190-196.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Leigh JP, Markowitz SB, Fahs M, Shin C, Landrigan PJ. Occupational injury and illness in the United States: Estimates of costs, morbidity, and mortality. Arch Intern Med 1997; 157: 1557-1568.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    McIntosh G, Frank J, Hogg-Johnson S, Hall H, Bombardier C. Low back pain prognosis: A structured review of the literature. J Occup Rehabil 2000; 10: 101-115.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Shaw WS, Pransky G, Fitzgerald TE. Early prognosis for low back disability: Intervention strategies for health care providers. Disabil Rehabil 2001; 23: 815-828.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Truchon M, Fillion L. Biopsychosocial determinants of chronic disability and low back pain: A review. J Occup Rehabil 2000; 10: 117-142.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Turner JA, Franklin G, Turk DC. Predictors of chronic disability in injured workers: A systematic review of the literature. Am J Ind Med 2000; 38: 707-722.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Habeck RV, Leahy MJ, Hunt HA, Chan F, Welch EM. Employer factors related to workers' compensation claims and disability management. Rehabil Couns Bull 1991; 34: 210-226.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Habeck RV, Scully SM, VanTol B, Hunt HA. Successful employer strategies for preventing and managing disability. Rehabil Couns Bull 1998; 42: 144-160.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    Salkever DS, Shinogle JA, Purushothaman M. Employer disability management strategies and other predictors of injury claims rates and costs: Analysis of employment-based long-term disability insurance claims. J Safety Res 2001; 32: 157-185.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Habeck RV, Hunt HA, VanTol B. Workplace factors associated with preventing and managing work disability. Rehabil Couns Bull 1998; 42: 98-143.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Lewin D, Schecter SM. Four factors lower disability rates. Pers J 1991; 70: 99-103.Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    Shannon HS, Walters V, Lewchuk W, Richardson J, Moran LA, Haines T, Verma D. Workplace organizational correlates of lost-time accident rates in manufacturing. Am J Ind Med 1996; 29: 258-268.Google Scholar
  17. 18.
    Elfering A, Semmer NK, Schade V, Grund S, Boos N. Supportive colleague, unsupportive supervisor: The role of provider-specific constellations of social support at work in the development of low back pain. J Occup Health Psychol 2002; 7: 130-140.Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    Marhold C, Linton SJ, Melin L. Identification of obstacles for chronic pain patients to return to work: Evaluation of a questionnaire. J Occup Rehabil 2002; 12: 65-75.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    Akabus SH, Gates LB. Disability management: Labor management initiatives in early intervention, final report. New York: Center for Social Policy and Practice in the Workplace, Columbia University School of Social Work, 1991.Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Kushnir T, Luria O. Supervisors' attitudes toward return to work after myocardial infarction or coronary artery bypass graft. J Occup Environ Med 2002; 44: 331-337.Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Strunin L, Boden LI. Paths of re-entry: Employment experiences of injured workers. Am J Ind Med 2000; 38: 373-384.Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    Nordqvist C, Holmqvist C, Alexanderson K. Views of laypersons on the role employers play in return to work when sick-listed. J Occup Rehabil 2003; 13: 11-20.Google Scholar
  23. 24.
    Shrey DE. Disability management in industry: The new paradigm in injured worker rehabilitation. Disabil Rehabil 1996; 18: 408-414.Google Scholar
  24. 25.
    El-Bassel N. Factors affecting return to work following short-term disability among female city workers and the role of social support system Doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, New York, 1999.Google Scholar
  25. 26.
    House JS. Work stress and social support.Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1981.Google Scholar
  26. 27.
    Packard T. Participation in decision making, performance, and job satisfaction in a social work bureaucracy. Adm Soc Work 1989; 13: 59-73.Google Scholar
  27. 28.
    Morken T, Moen B, Riise T, Vigeland-Hauge SH, Holien S, Langedrag A, Olson H, Pedersen S, Liahjell-Saue IL, Seljebo GM, Thoppil V. Effects of a training program to improve musculoskeletal health among industrial workers–-effects of supervisors' role in the intervention. Int J Ind Ergon 2002; 30: 115-127.Google Scholar
  28. 29.
    Fitzler SL, Berger RA. Attitudinal change: The Chelsea Back Program. Occup Health Saf 1982; 51: 24-26.Google Scholar
  29. 30.
    Fitzler SL, Berger RA. Chelsea Back Program: One year later. Occup Health Saf 1983; 52: 52-54.Google Scholar
  30. 31.
    McLellan RK, Pransky G, Shaw WS. Disability management training for supervisors: A pilot intervention program. J Occup Rehabil 2001; 11: 33-41.Google Scholar
  31. 32.
    Wood DJ. Design and evaluation of a back injury prevention program within a geriatric hospital. Spine 1987; 12: 77-82.Google Scholar
  32. 33.
    Endsley MR, Robertson MM. Situation awareness in aircraft maintenance teams. Int J Ind Ergon 2000; 26: 301-325.Google Scholar
  33. 34.
    Holtzblatt K, Jones S. Contextual inquiry: A participatory technique for system design. In: Schuler D, Namioka A, eds. Participatory design: Principles and practices. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1993, pp. 177-210.Google Scholar
  34. 35.
    Fleishman EA. The description of supervisory behavior. J Appl Psychol 1953; 37: 1-6.Google Scholar
  35. 36.
    Keogh JP, Nuwayhid I, Gordon JL, Gucer P. The impact of occupational injury on injured worker and family: Outcomes of upper extremity cumulative trauma disorders in Maryland workers. Am J Ind Med 2000; 38: 498-506.Google Scholar
  36. 37.
    Pransky G, Benjamin K, Hill-Fotouhi C, Himmelstein J, Fletcher KE, Katz JN, Johnson WG. Outcomes in work-related upper extremity and low back injuries: Results of a retrospective study. Am J Ind Med 2000; 37: 400-409.Google Scholar
  37. 38.
    Kenny DT. Employers' perspectives on the provision of suitable duties in occupational rehabilitation. J Occup Rehabil 1999; 9: 267-276.Google Scholar
  38. 39.
    Keogh JP, Gucer P, Gordon JL, Nuwayhid I. Patterns and predictors of employer risk-reduction activities (ERRAs) in response to a work-related upper extremity cumulative trauma disorder (UECTD): Reports from workers' compensation claimants. Am J Ind Med 2000; 38: 489-497.Google Scholar
  39. 40.
    Lincoln AE, Feuerstein M, Shaw WS, Miller VI. Impact of case manager training on worksite accommodations in workers' compensation claimants with upper extremity disorders. J Occup Environ Med 2002; 44: 237-245.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • William S. Shaw
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michelle M. Robertson
    • 1
  • Glenn Pransky
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert K. McLellan
    • 3
  1. 1.Liberty Mutual Research Institute for SafetyHopkinton
  2. 2.Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcester
  3. 3.Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, Exeter HospitalExeter, New Hampshire

Personalised recommendations