Reducing Absenteeism: An Essential Task

True disability management begins with the organization’s commitment to value its human resources.  This is accomplished through case management, an effective strategy to reduce the costs of absenteeism due to illness or Workers Compensation claims.  Using a case management strategy, an OHN follows the progress of an employee from the first day of absence to his or her timely return to work.


OHNs are uniquely qualified to provide case management because they understand the link between employees’ health care needs, the workplace hazards and the specific job’s physical requirements.  A Disability Management program may include all or some of the following:


Pre-placement Assessments

This is a medical examination which:

Ø      matches prospective employees with their job functions

Ø      identifies health problems that may require a modification of work tasks

Ø      established baseline data for work-related health monitoring (eg. Exposure to chemicals, noise, communicable diseases).


 Job Safety Analysis

The OHN collaborates with management and safety committees to identify job hazards so that preventative measures can be put into place.  A job safety analysis breaks a job down into basic steps and lists obvious and potential hazards.  The analysis results in recommendations in safer operating procedures for each hazard as well as injury risk reduction.


Modified Work

The goal of case management is to assist a worker to resume his/her position as a productive employee following an illness or injury.  To accomplish this goal, the OHN collaborates with management, employees and unions to establish a Rehabilitative/Modified Return to Work Program.  This program returns ill/injured employees to work in a timely, safe manner.  For example, regular work may be altered, redesigned, work hours reduced or work volume changed temporarily or permanently, gradually easing an employee back into full or as near to full duties as possible.  The OHN becomes the liaison between the worker and the worker’s physician, chiropractor and other health care providers.


A Publication of Manitoba Occupational Health Nurses Interest Group