By the end of postgraduate training, using a patient-centred approach and appropriate selectivity, a resident, considering the patient’s cultural and gender contexts, will be able to...
Key Feature 7: Do not limit treatment of disabling conditions to a short-term disability leave (i.e., time off is only part of the plan).
Skill: Clinical Reasoning, Patient Centered
Every Canadian province has their own workers' compensation organization, so details of occupational disability management will vary between provinces. WorkSafeBC is the provincial workers' compensation organization in BC. Per the Doctors of BC/WorkSafeBC Agreement, WorkSafe BC "...has the authority to provide health care and rehabilitation services to workers who sustain injuries that arise out of and in the course of their employment." (Doctors of BC is a voluntary medical association that any physician practicing in BC can be a part of. Their mandate is to promote the interests of physicians working in BC.) The Physician Reference Guide for the Agreement explains, "Working with Physicians and Employers in this province, WorkSafeBC’s goal is to facilitate a safe, timely, and durable return to work for injured workers (...) When a person suffers a work-related injury or contracts a work-related disease, he or she can make a claim for compensation to WorkSafeBC." In BC, a claim would be submitted by a physician who assesses the patient and submits a Form 8 to WorkSafeBC. Further follow-up appointments ask the physician to submit a Form 11 to WorkSafe BC if the following conditions apply:
As a primary care physician working in BC or any other Canadian province, or any other region of the world, along with treating injuries and diseases, one of my main priorities is also to try to prevent patients from acquiring new injuries and diseases. When I am gathering my social history on patients in clinic, I ask about employment conditions and if there any possible hazards that could lead to injury or disability, which include the following types of hazards:
The possibility of injury or disability from employment is not a rare phenomenon. According to the peer-reviewed article "Individual, occupational, and workplace correlates of occupational health and safety vulnerability in a sample of Canadian workers" by Lay et al. published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine in October 2015, "Occupational injury, illness, and workplace fatalities are important public health concerns. Globally, 2.3 million deaths a year can be attributed to occupational injury or work‐related diseases, and many more millions suffer from non‐fatal work‐related injury and illness. Annually in Canada, an average of just under a million lost time occupational injury claims are accepted by provincial workers’ compensation agencies, representing one in 46 full‐time workers being compensated for an injury severe enough to miss one or more days of work. The consequences of work‐related injury and illness extend beyond individual workers, exacting important social and economic costs from families, businesses, and economies." The impact of occupation on the health of an individual and the impact of health on work is significant and common among the general population, and it is therefore under my purview as a family physician to consider how my patients and society may be impacted by and occupational injury and disability.