Case Management

Injury Case Management for Occupational Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

An important component of an ergonomics program is injury case management of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The primary goal of the injury case management program is to prevent physical impairment and disability through early identification, prompt and appropriate treatment of MSDs. Other goals and benefits of a medical management program include maintaining employee morale, productivity and efficiency, and controlling injury costs. Early return to work programs is one of the most effective tools used in case management to rehabilitate workers, keep them connected to the workplace and reduce high costs associated with absenteeism. This page provides selected resources related to components of injury case management programs and about occupational MSDs in general.

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Also refer to Information for Employers on this website for more resources and information about Safe Patient Handling in a variety of health care environments

Articles & Publications

Best Practices in Return to Work (2011). The 2011 DMEC Leadership Series, sponsored by Liberty Mutual

Disability Management Pays off. Mary Ann Fitzpatrick and Phyllis M. King (2001). Professional Safety January 2001. American Society of Safety Engineers.DoD Medical Case Management Working Group White Paper (2004). Includes a review of best practices for Return to Work Programs from the DoD Prevention, Safety, and Health Promotion Council (PSHPC)

Best Practices in Return to Work (2011). The 2011 DMEC Leadership Series, sponsored by Liberty Mutual

Evaluation of a Case Management Program: Summary and Integration of Findings (1999). Salazar, M.K., Graham, K.Y. &  Lantz, B. AAOHN Journal, 47(9):416-23.

Hands: Strategies for strong, pain-free hands (2005). Medical Editors (2005). Simmons, B. & Bosch, J.P. Harvard Medical School.

Improving Return to Work Outcomes Formalizing the Process (2002). Wassel, ML.  AAOHN Journal 50(6):275-85.

Musculoskeletal Disorders and Workplace Factors – A Critical Review of Epidemiologic Evidence for Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck, Upper Extremity, and Low Back (1997). National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Musculoskeletal Disorders and the Workplace – Low Back and Upper Extremities (2001). National Research Council and Institute of Medicine.National Academy of Sciences. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Musculoskeletal Symptoms, Work Ability, and Disability Among Nursing Personnel (2012) Souza, A.C., and Alexandre, N.  WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY, Vol. 60 (8): 353-360.

Occupational Health Nursing Guidelines for Primary Clinical Conditions. 2008 2nd Edition. Bonnie Rogers, Susan Randolph and Karen Mastroianni. OEM Press.

Seven ‘Principles’ for Successful Return to Work (2007). Institute for Work & Health [online document] 2007 March [cited 2007 May 2]: [8 screens].

Underreporting of Musculoskeletal Disorders among Health Care Workers: Research Needs (2008). Menzel, N. AAOHN Journal, 56 (12): 487-493.

What are Restricted Duty, Light Duty and Transitional Duty, and the Implications of Each for Case Management Practice?(2002).Haag,A & Kalina, C. AAOHN Journal 50(10):437-40.

When Is an Injury Compensable? (2009). Foster, D. AAOHN Journal Vol. 57(11): 443-445.

Work productivity impairment from musculoskeletal disorder pain in long-term caregivers (2009). Gucer, P.W., Oliver, M., Parrish, J.M., &McDiarmid, M. J Occup Environ Med. 51(6):672-81.

Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs): A Reference Book for Prevention. Hagberg et al.1995. Taylor and Francis.

MSDS and Psychosocial Factors

Exposure to Stress Occupational Hazards in Hospitals (2008). DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2008–136.

Expert forecast on emerging psychosocial risks related to occupational safety and health (2007). Brun, E., &  Milczarek, M. European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

Ergonomic and Socioeconomic Risk Factors for Hospital Workers’ Compensation Injury Claims (2009). Boyer, J., et. al. Am J Ind Med. 2009 Jul;52(7):551-62.

Longitudinal Relationship of Work Hours, Mandatory Overtime, and On-call to Musculoskeletal Problems in Nurses (2006). Trinkoff, A., et. al. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 49:964–971.

 Musculoskeletal Disorders and Workplace Factors – A Critical Review of Epidemiologic Evidence for Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck, Upper Extremity, and Low Back (1997). National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Chapter 7. Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders and Psychosocial Factors

Psychosocial Factors Contributing to Occupational Injuries Among Direct Care Workers (2009). Zontek, T,  Isernhagen, J. & Ogle, B.AAOHN Journal 57(8):338-47.

Violence at the workplace increases the risk of musculoskeletal pain among nursing home workers(2010). Miranda H, Punnett L, Gore R, et al. Occup Environ Med published online September 27, 2010

The Role of Psychosocial Factors in Occupational Musculoskeletal Disorders (2010).  Fathallah, F. A. et. al Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting Proceedings, Industrial Ergonomics , 642-645(4).

Obesity/Overweight and the Role of Working Conditions:A Qualitative, Participatory Investigation (2012) UMass Lowell, Lowell, MA; MassCOSH, and Boston Worker’s Alliance, Boston, MA, USA.

case management

Other Resources

Disability Related Information on the Web

Links to Back Injury Information from MEDLINEplus

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

ADA Business Connection

ADA Regulations and Technical Assistance Materials

ADA Standards for Accessible Design

DRM Guide to Disability Resources on the Internet

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Job Accommodation Network

Provides suggestions for accommodating people with disabilities.

New Freedom Initiative's Online Resource for ADA

Other Resources for Oregon Employers

Resources for Non-OHSU Oregon Licensed Health Professionals 

Access to journals articles via the Oregon Health Sciences University library

 Employer-at-injury program (EAIP)

The State of Oregon Employer-at-Injury Program encourages the early return to work of injured workers by helping defray an employer's early return-to-work costs and reducing claim costs. A maximum of $2,500 is available for worksite modification.

The Preferred Worker Program (PWP).

The Preferred Worker Program (in Oregon)allows injured workers to offer unique hiring incentives to Oregon employers. You can offer Preferred Worker Program benefits to your employer-at-injury or a new employer (in Oregon), or both. The PWP can authorize a maximum of $25,000 for worksite modifications needed because of injury-caused restrictions and limitations