Physicians are key members involved in the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of workers injured on the job. Unfortunately, many healthcare providers lack training in occupational medicine and are uncomfortable assigning light duty job activities (LDJA) to injured agricultural workers even though primary care physicians may be the first providers to treat an injured worker. Physicians that treat injured workers are required to fill out complex forms that are difficult to interpret for the injured worker and his/her employer and may not be appropriate for all industries especially agriculture.

This project has developed an electronic system available at www.SafeReturnToWork.org that characterizes the duties of agricultural workers and facilitates the creation of applicable LDJA for farmers and farm workers by physicians and other healthcare providers. 

A prototype of the Assessment Tool has been developed for use with workplace injuries. Work was completed with assistance from the Interactive Clinical Design Institute within the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation.  Physicians from the Marshfield Clinic Health System were interviewed to assess the need for ergonomic information regarding agricultural-related tasks, identify drawbacks in the current Workers’ Compensation/Return to Work forms, and refine prototype LDJA forms. 

For more information about the Return to Work project, please contact Bryan Weichelt, PhD, MBA at weichelt.bryan@mcrf.mfldclin.edu or at 715-221-7276.