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It is commonly believed that significant numbers of injured workers in California do not return to work as early as possible, or they return to work without appropriate work restrictions. These workers experience unnecessary and often permanent losses in their functional capacity and their ability to work.


This project will assist in developing practical strategies to promote injured workers' prompt return-to-work in sustained employment. The project will analyze legal and policy issues, evaluating perspectives, assess needs in the workers' compensation community, and uncover the practical implications of the research conducted to date.

This new project will assist in the Commission’s ongoing efforts to reduce uncompensated wage loss incurred by injured workers. It will also enhance the upcoming California Forum on Workplace Health and Safety scheduled for February 2001.

Goals and Objectives

Experiences in California

To systematically collect in-depth information about the experiences of injured workers, employers, unions, claims administrators, and healthcare providers with medical practices, employer policies, and workers' compensation programs that maximize positive return-to-work outcomes. (A positive outcome occurs when a worker who has been off work with a job injury return, as soon as is medically feasible, to a job or progression of jobs that contributes to the worker's recovery, and that the worker feels is fair and satisfactory.)

Legal and Policy Issues:

To analyze how existing state laws and regulations governing vocational rehabilitation affect return-to-work outcomes.

Future Educational Activities:

To formulate practical messages that will be included in educational materials to promote positive return-to work outcomes.

Research for the Commission:

To identify practical implications of research conducted for the Commission in the areas of return-to-work and vocational rehabilitation, and to identify possible gaps and further types of research needed to attain the Commission's policy goals.



Further Information

& CHSWC Report: Return-to-Work in California:  Listening to Stakeholders' Voice (July 2001)