The Fundamentals of Disability Management

Disability management focuses on absences from work as a result of illness, injury or disability, and on preventing the risks that cause these absences. It is a deliberate and coordinated effort by employers to reduce the occurrence and effect of illness and injury on workforce productivity, and to promote employee attachment.

Its three components are prevention, support for recovery and accommodation.

Figure 1: Disability Management: Accommodation, Prevention and Support for Recovery
Disability Management: Accommodation, Prevention and Support for Recovery: Text version below
Figure 1: Disability Management: Accommodation, Prevention and Support for Recovery - Text version

The three components of disability management are accomodation, prevention, and support for recovery.

For accommodation, important aspects are accessibility standards, the duty to accommodate, and assistive technologies.

For prevention, important aspects are the Employee Assistance Program and wellness programs, special working arrangements, occupational health and safety legislation and standards, and emergency and business continuity plans.

For support for recovery, important aspects are sick leave and injury-on-duty leave, disability benefits and workers' compensation, and early intervention, case management, and remain-at-work or return-to-work plans.

These components are mutually reinforcing. Benefits and services in one component can sometimes be used very effectively in another. Assistive technologies, such as adaptive screens, fall under accommodation, but in some situations they can be used successfully to prevent serious illness and injury in the first place, or to prevent a relapse for employees who have returned to work to help them stay at work.

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