Work Disability Prevention: A Primer for Occupational Therapists

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Abstract

An estimated 313 million workplace accidents resulting in injury occur worldwide every year. Therefore, the burden of workplace injury and disability is present at the individual and the societal level and involves several stakeholders. There has been a shift in paradigm from workplace disability and injury treatment to workplace disability prevention. Occupational therapy practitioners are well positioned to address this multifaceted societal issue. Opening communication lines among stakeholders allows for a more holistic, collaborative, and comprehensive approach to disability, injury, and pain management. The positive results researchers have found at the individual level when using a holistic approach translate to benefits for all of the stakeholders involved. Occupational therapy practitioners may espouse a work disability prevention approach to reduce work disability rates and provide timely return-to-work outcomes for clients. The transition to the preventative model requires collaboration among stakeholders but would be beneficial to all stakeholders involved in the workplace.

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