Development of a Green Light and Red Flag Toolkit for Persistent Claims

Principal Investigator: Ellen MacEachen

Co-Investigator: Agnieszka Kosny

Research Assistant: Lori Chambers

Community Involvement: The project involves partners from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Injured Workers' Consultants, Office of the Employer Advisor, Ontario Network of Injured Workers Group, Gage Occupational and Environmental Health Unit, and the Office of the Worker Advisor. The project partners reviewed the study rationale and description and provided feedback on the funding application. They have agreed to assist with the Toolkit validation and evaluation and provide feedback and suggestions regarding study progress, analysis, and findings.

Project Abstract: A problem facing WSIB and system partners is the growing number of long-term workers' compensation claims. Although claim rates have declined in recent years, the duration of existing claims has been growing. Challenging return to work situations might be managed if key players who represent or make decisions about claims are able to identify situations when procedures are working particularly well and conversely, when workers may be at particular risk of not being able to complete their expected return-to-work trajectory. Using our unique database, we developed a guide to support optimal quality in the disability management process, called "Red Flags/Green Lights: A Guide to Identifying and Managing Return-to-Work Problems". Our database of richly detailed, qualitative interviews focused directly on processes, situations, and problems of injured workers with long-term compensation claims who have experienced problems with return to work. The Guide was work shopped with a range of system users who helped to develop suggestions for practice to improve workers' recovery and the RTW process. Workshop participants included workers and worker representatives, employer representatives, WSIB staff, and healthcare providers. The development of the Guide was overseen by an Advisory Committee with representation from the WSIB, OWA, OEA, injured worker community, and health care provider community. Our final product furthers the development and targeted application of system resources, assists with more efficient use of existing system resources, and will ultimately improve the claims experience of injured workers.

The Guide can be downloaded (free) at:

Project References: Project proposal has received funding from the WSIB-RAC 2007-2008.

Project Bibliography:

MacEachen, E., Kosny, A., Ferrier, S., Chambers, L. (2010). The 'toxic dose' of system problems: why some injured workers don't return to work as expected, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation , 20(3), 349-366.

Kosny, A., MacEachen, E., Ferrier, S., Chambers, L. The role of health care providers in long term and complicated workers' compensation claims. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation (in press).

MacEachen, E, Ferrier, S, Kosny, A, and Chambers, L. (2007). A deliberation on 'hurt versus harm' logic in early-return-to-work policy. Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, 5(2), 41-62.

MacEachen, E., Kosny, A. & Ferrier, S. (2007). Unexpected barriers in return to work: lessons learned from Ontario injured worker peer support groups. Work 29(2), 155-164.

MacEachen, E., Kosny A., Ferrier, S., Chambers, L., Cole, D.C. (July 2008). How systemic problems can prolong workers' compensation claims and change worker's lives: An informed realist perspective. Toronto ON: Final Report to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Financial security & employment experience

Phase 1 Projects

Concepts of compensation adequacy

Inventory/catalogue of data sources

Study of barriers to claims filing

Labour-market earnings and financial security

Literature review of research on labour-market experiences and financial security

Complex Claims Study

Role of Health Care Providers in Complex Claims

Labour-Market Re-Entry Study

A Socio-Legal Ethnography of the Experiences of Injured Workers with Deeming and Re-Employment

Development of a Green Light and Red Flag Toolkit for Persistent Claims