HSAs to develop an education role in return to work

Ontario’s Health and Safety Associations (HSAs) may soon take a more active role in educating their clients in work disability prevention and return to work, which is also known as secondary prevention.

Traditionally, HSAs have provided information and services around preventing workplace injury and illness – also known as primary prevention – to their clients.

The Institute for Work & Health will provide knowledge transfer expertise around evidence-based return-to-work information, while the HSAs will act as conduits for this information to workplaces.

This new project aims to engage the prevention system – including the HSAs, Ministry of Labour and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board – as a whole so that we offer one consistent approach to disability prevention and return to work, says Nicole Lindo, Project Manager, Disability Prevention/Return to Work at the Municipal Health and Safety Association. Its purpose is to enhance the associations’ understanding of disability prevention and return to work so that it’s reflected in their programs, products and services, notes Lindo. By being well-informed, the HSAs can more effectively present the benefits of developing a return-to-work program with their clients. They can also link them to appropriate WSIB resources.

So far, roles and responsibilities for the HSAs have been developed and approved. The next step is to develop a pilot project that will target specific employers. We want to identify where the greatest need is and develop specific content to fit these needs, says Lindo.

Source: At Work, Issue 52, Spring 2008: Institute for Work & Health, Toronto