In 2011, Niagara Health (NH) established an Injury Prevention Program as the organization was struggling to keep people healthy at work and return people who were unable to perform the essential duties of their jobs. Niagara Health and their bargaining unit representatives entered into a partnership with the Institute for Work and Health (IWH); an independent, not-for-profit organization recognized as a Canadian leader in work injury and disability prevention research. NH worked with external providers, and leaders from each of the four Bargaining Units to develop a return to work (RTW) process that focused on removing barriers with an emphasis on prevention. The working group developed an employee focused RTW process.
The Injury Prevention Consultants’ (IPC) role within the RTW program is to support the injured worker in partnership with the employee health and abilities team, the manager and union partner during the employee’s return to work. Through the review of restrictions, the IPCs make modifications to equipment and/or the work environment to remove barriers and allow for a safe and productive return to work. Innovative solutions are then incorporated into a Solutions Page for any manager or staff member to review from a prevention or return to work perspective. This information is also shared with the JHSCs and attached to each RTW meeting to spread creative ideas to other situations in the organization.
The IPCs are instrumental in shifting the culture at NH to prevention focused. They collaborate to provide staff education and work with employees to determine root cause(s) of injuries specific to the site, department and classification. Their work with employees has resulted in creative and innovative ways to remove barriers and allow the employees to perform the essential duties of their jobs. Whenever possible, these creative solutions are imbedded into the standard work process as a prevention strategy.

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