Who do you see?

People who have an injury/ illness that impact their ability to complete tasks in their workplace. Can also see employers and insurers to provide workplace education.

What do you do?

The occupational therapist completes a comprehensive assessment of the worker and their mental/ physical abilities, the workplace environment and work tasks performed. The occupational therapist liaises closely and provides education and advise to employers and insurers on the needs of the worker such as workplace modification, safe work practices and provision of assistive devices. The occupational therapist would work with all parties involved to develop a graded return to work program to enhance the workers’ functional performance and productivity.

Where do you work?

Vocational rehabilitation and injury consultant companies.

Case Example:

Rob in a 49-year-old man who works fulltime as a Storeman in a wine distribution company. Rob has a left shoulder injury (dominant arm)- subacromial bursitis and had been experiencing a gradual onset of symptoms over a period of 1 month. Rob has received a medical certificate as he was continuing to struggle with stacking duties which are normally 8- 12kg in weight and it is impacting on his sleep at night.

The occupational therapist gathers information about how the injury occurred, current medical guidelines, Robs’ current status and the treatment he is receiving. The occupational therapist works with Rob and his employer to determine barriers to return to work (RTW). For example, Robs’ injury doesn’t appear to be healing and this may be due to continuous strain on shoulder when completing stacking duties. A job analysis is completed to determine details of Robs’ work tasks including essential and non-essential tasks and physical demands. This would involve consulting with Rob and his employer and observing Rob completing work tasks. In consultation with Robs medical team, the occupational therapist provides recommendations for tasks and weight restrictions. Rob is asked to avoid lifting/ carrying of items above chest level and have a weight restriction of 6 kgs. The occupational therapist meets with Rob and his employer to discuss the graded RTW Program which is continually reviewed and adjusted throughout the entire process.

How can I find out more?

Please contact the WA Occupational Therapy Association if you would like further information – info@waota.com.au