IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Knowledge review on management strategies and winning modes of intervention in the prevention of chronicity


Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) constitute a heavy economic burden in our society due to the constantly growing number of workdays lost by a small percentage of workers on prolonged disability. The continuous proliferation of concepts in the field of work disability, the diversity of implementation contexts and interventions, and the varied interests of the stakeholders involved in the rehabilitation and return-to-work (RTW) process of workers suffering from WRMSDs still constitute major challenges for researchers and stakeholders in the work disability research field. The main purpose of this literature review was to provide an overview of the main topics and recent trends in contemporary work disability research and to identify potentially successful intervention modalities for preventing prolonged disability in workers compensated for WRMSDs.

A systematic electronic search of the literature published in English or French between January 2000 and January 2008 was performed in ten scientific databases. Descriptors were searched using key words related to workplace absenteeism, work-related musculoskeletal disorders, work disability interventions, rehabilitation and RTW interventions, and compensation issues. Descriptive analyses were performed on 186 articles reporting on one or more revelatory studies, 20 theoretical articles and 12 literature reviews. In order to identify the topics and trends in work disability research, the articles were categorized based on the main objective pursued, stakeholder(s) involved in the study or interested in the study's results, research perspective, and specific area of application (e.g. physical exercise program). In the next step, content analysis was performed on the 88 articles that were found to describe strategic components of intervention aimed at preventing prolonged disability in workers compensated for musculoskeletal disorders.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 0099-6360
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2011
Research Field: Occupational Rehabilitation