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910 A supervisor training program for work disability prevention: preliminary results from a cluster randomised controlled trial
  1. VL Kristman1,2,3,4,
  2. JJ Armstrong1,
  3. WS Shaw5
  1. 1Department of Health Sciences, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Division of Human Sciences, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Institute for Work and Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA


Introduction Providing supervisors with tools to improve their response to workplace injuries or illnesses may improve disability outcomes. The objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the Supervisor/Manager Accommodation Recognition and Training (SMART) Program on reducing the total duration of workers’ lost-time claims. Here, we provide preliminary results from two Canadian (located in Ontario and British Columbia) and one American employer.

Methods Within each organisation, work units were randomly selected to have their supervisors receive the training program. Work units not assigned to the program served as the control group for the study. Work disability outcome data were one-year prior to and one-year post training for comparison purposes. Web based surveys were used to collect information on supervisors’ knowledge and responses to workplace injuries at baseline, 3- and 6 months post training.

Results For the Ontario-based employer, the SMART program did not impact the total duration of workers’ lost-time claims when compared to the controls. For the British Columbia-based employer, trained work sites had a reduction in both the number of days off per injury incident (−6.2) and the number of short-term disability claims per 100 workers (−10.5). Across the American-based employer, the work sites that received the SMART training had a significant reduction in the number of days off per workers’ compensation claim (−4.9), a small decrease in the average number of days per short-term disability claim (−2.7) and the number of Workers’ Compensation claims were reduced to half the rate post-training (8.3 claims per 100 employees per year down to 4.4). Survey results will also be discussed.

Conclusion The mixed results of the preliminary data highlight the importance of context when studying complex organisations. Employee culture, policies and practices of management, type of industry, and other organisational factors have a strong influence on work disability outcomes.

  • supervisor
  • return to work
  • training

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