Capital Health named Employer Return to Work Champion by Workers’ Compensation Board

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 4:59pm

Staff members from the Injury Prevention Team within Organizational Health were recognized Dec. 18, 2012 with a prestigious award from the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB).

They were named Employer Return to Work Champion for achieving a decrease in average length of absences - from 56 days per claim in 2008 to 42 days in 2012.

“We are thrilled with this award. It has only happened because of the hard work of dedicated staff members who started working on this initiative in the fall of 2011,” says Angela Keenan, a WCB specialist and team lead for the Injury Prevention Team.

Keenan acts as a liaison between Capital Health and the WCB. Her position, along with an Injury Prevention Specialist works with clinical teams to implement and evaluate programs to reduce employee injuries related to material handling, patient handling and transferring activities. In the past couple of years the focus has been particularly on musculoskeletal injuries, the number one cause of lost time for employees or the need for employees to seek medical attention.

The focus of the new initiative is to help employees seek immediate medical attention for musculoskeletal injuries through direct access to physiotherapy services and an immediate offer of modified work. This allows a safe and timely return to pre-injury work. 

“We want people to be safe at work and be able to return to the jobs they have such passion for as quickly as possible,” says Keenan. “We have seen employees report an injury through the SAFE line in the morning, be assessed by a physiotherapist and have an appropriate return-to-work plan in place before the end of their shift.”

Keenan says employees are the biggest winners.

“By ensuring employees get immediate medical attention and have a proper return-to-work plan it means less time they have to face the financial difficulties that may occur with a reduced income through a WCB benefit.”

Increased focus on injury prevention and creating a vibrant return to work program has not only resulted in fewer injuries and a decrease in work time lost but has resulted in strengthened partnerships with the WCB and Capital Health managers/supervisors. It has also enabled partnerships with local physiotherapy clinics who have agreed to schedule appointments for Capital Health staff on very short notice.  

WCB had plenty of praise for Capital Health in announcing the award:

“Your submission outlines a long term, management-led, strategic return to work plan that has seen significant results. Research has proven that building and maintaining a safety culture starts with an organization’s management team and it was clear from your submission that the leaders of the Capital District Health Authority take the safety of their employees to heart.”

The Injury Prevention Team strives to eliminate preventable work-related injuries/illnesses through research, education and engagement which minimizes the impact to all members of the organization, for those injuries that do occur. 

For more information please visit the Safety and Injury Prevention website.

Shown in the photo are: Pam Currie, Former Manager Employee Health; Mark Williams, Injury Prevention Specialist; Wendy Rutledge (back) Accident Prevention Officer; Cindy Myatt (front) Accident Prevention Officer; Angela Keenan (holding award) Team Leader Injury Prevention and WCB Specialist; Jane Pryor Director Operations; Don Currie (back) Manager Safety Services & Injury Prevention and Murray Doucette Direction Organizational Health.