Content » Vol 37, Issue 3

Influence of modified work on return to work for employees on sick leave due to musculoskeletal complaints

Miranda van Duijn A1, Freek Lötters A1, Alex Burdorf A1
A1 Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
DOI: 10.1080/16501970410023434

Abstract

Objective: To determine which individual and work-related factors are associated with performing modified work and to evaluate the influence of modified work on the duration of sick leave and health-related outcomes among employees with musculoskeletal complaints.Study design: A prospective study with 12 months follow-up.Methods: In this prospective study a total of 164 employees on sick leave for 2–6 weeks due to musculoskeletal complaints completed 2 questionnaires. At baseline we gathered information about individual characteristics, physical and psychosocial workload, and disease specific and general health. The follow-up questionnaire, sent to respondents who returned to their original job on full duty, collected information about having performed modified work, and disease-specific and general health.Results: Employees were less likely to perform modified work when their regular work was characterized by frequent lifting and their relationship with colleagues was less than good. Employees were more likely to return to modified work when they had a better mental health, had prolonged periods of standing in their regular job and had less skill discretion. Duration of sick leave was influenced by chronicity of complaints and disability, but not by modified work.Conclusion: Modified work, as the only advice given by a occupational health physician, did not influence the total duration of sick leave nor the improvement in health during sick leave for employees on sick leave due to musculoskeletal complaints.

Lay Abstract

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