Buddies in bad times? The role of co-workers after a work-related injury

Agnieszka Kosny, Marni Lifshen, Diana Pugliese, Gary Majesky, Desre Kramer, Ivan Steenstra, Sophie Soklaridis, Christine Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Co-workers can play an important role after a work-related injury. They can provide details about the circumstances of an accident, offer emotional support to the injured worker and help with job tasks upon a co-worker s return to work (RTW). Working with an injured co-worker, however, can also strain work relationships and increase workload. The purpose of this study was to determine the role that co-workers play after a work-related injury and during the RTW process in the unionized, electrical construction sector. Methods We conducted two focus groups with injured electricians and union representatives. We also interviewed co-workers who had worked with someone who had been injured in the course of employment. We examined the role that co-workers can play after a work-related injury and some of the factors facilitating and hindering co-worker support. Results The structure of work in the electrical sector-a focus on cost-cutting and competition, job insecurity, perceptions of different camps among co-workers, little modified work and poor formal communication-can impede co-worker support and contribute to making injured workers experiences difficult. Management can play an important role in setting an example for how injured workers are regarded and treated. Conclusions Future research should explore how workers can better be supported after a work-related injury and during the RTW process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438 - 449
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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