Seven “Principles” for Successful Return to Work

Published: January 2007

What do employers need to do to enhance a worker’s return to work (RTW) after an injury or illness? The evidence-based advice contained in Seven “Principles” for Successful Return to Work provides some answers. The principles are based on an Institute for Work & Health (IWH) systematic review of RTW studies, which identified the elements contributing to a successful return to work.

Note that subsequent IWH systematic reviews of RTW studies build on the Seven "Principles." The 2019 findings are incorporated in a handout called Supporting return to work among employees with musculoskeletal or mental health conditions.


Who should use the guide

Seven “Principles” for Successful Return to Work will be of value to all workplaces parties involved in the return-to-work process: employers, supervisors, disability managers, return-to-work coordinators, human resources and workers’ compensation staff, union and worker representatives, occupational health physicians and nurses, and more. It will also be of value to consultants, clinicians and policy-makers who support the workplace parties in developing sound RTW programs and procedures.