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Perception differences between groups of employees identifying the factors that influence a return to work after a work-related musculoskeletal injury


Fisher, T. F.


k. A.


Work, 2003, Volume 21 (Number 3), Seite 211-220, Amsterdam: IOS Press, ISSN: 1051-9815




Employee health and productivity losses as a result of work-related injury are estimated to be US dollars 1.2 trillion annually to US companies. This is approximately 14.3% of the gross domestic product [6,8, 11,35]. Workers' compensation, medical care, and short and long-term disability are a part of these costs. Controlling or eliminating these costs is a problem for US employers [3, 6,14,21,29].

The study discussed in this article examined the perceptions of manufacturing employees in identifying factors that influence a return to work after a work-related musculoskeletal injury. The classification of employees who participated in this study were safety professionals, supervisors and workers from the manufacturing industry in central Kentucky.

The worker group consisted of material handlers, assembly line workers and quality control inspectors. The participants completed a developed survey instrument, the Return to Work Perception Survey. This survey instrument examined the perception of the participants on factors related to return to work: company policies and procedures, job satisfaction, worker relationships and work environment.

The results indicated safety professionals and supervisors perceptions differ from workers on the variables of job satisfaction, worker relationships and work environment. Their perceptions did not differ on the variable relating to company policies and procedures. In addition, the safety professional and supervisor groups rated the items addressing job satisfaction higher than did the worker group. The worker group did not differ from one another on any of the factors.

Implications of this study for manufacturing companies suggest
(a) identifying those issues contributing to employee job satisfaction,
(b) developing a plan for achieving increased job satisfaction and employee recognition at the workplace among all workers, and
(c) consider allowing employees to develop new capacities and new learning, thus fostering motivation and job satisfaction [18,20].

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Informationsstand: 14.04.2004

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