Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 529–541 | Cite as

The effect of a “training on work readiness” program for workers with musculoskeletal injuries: A randomized control trial (RCT) study

  • Edward J. Q. Li
  • Cecilia W. P. Li-Tsang
  • C. S. Lam
  • Karen Y. L. Hui
  • Chetwyn C. H. Chan
Original Paper


Background: This is a clinical randomized trail (RCT) to investigate the effects of a three-week training program on work readiness designed for musculoskeletal injured workers with long-term sick leave who had difficulties resuming their work role. The program was planned to help injured workers overcome the psychological and psychosocial problems and to facilitate their Work Readiness on Return to Work (RTW) based on the Employment readiness model. Methodology: A total of 64 injured workers were recruited and randomly assigned into the training (T) and control (C) groups. Observations were blinded between service providers and evaluators. A three-week intensive training on work readiness program was given to the T group while subjects in the C group were given advice on job placement by social workers in a community work health center. The training program was comprised of individual vocational counseling and group therapy using cognitive behavioral approach to alleviate symptoms of stress, pain and anxiety. The Chinese Lam Assessment of Stages of Employment Readiness (C-LASER), the Chinese State Trait and Anxiety Inventory (C-STAI) and the Short form of Health Survey (SF-36) were used to evaluate all subjects’ psychological health status and behavioral changes on job readiness before and after the intervention. Results: Subjects in the T group showed significant improvement in their work readiness (p < 0.05), level of anxiety (p < 0.05) and their self perception of health status measured by SF-36 (p < 0.02) when compared with subjects in the C group. Control of chronic pain, negative motivation, and anxiety level were some of the key behavioral changes found from the study. Conclusion: The TWR program appeared to improve injured workers’ motivation and employment readiness. Further study on the employment outcomes of subjects is recommended.


Return to work Musculoskeletal injuries Work readiness Long term sick leave 



The authors would like to acknowledge all the workers who had kindly agreed to participate in this research study. Special thanks to the two funding bodies, The Institute for Enterprise (IfE), Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Hong Kong Workers’ Health Center under the Teaching Company Scheme. Finally, the authors would also like to thank Mr. Henky Chan and colleagues from the Hong Kong Workers’ Health Center for their contribution to this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward J. Q. Li
    • 1
  • Cecilia W. P. Li-Tsang
    • 1
  • C. S. Lam
    • 2
  • Karen Y. L. Hui
    • 3
  • Chetwyn C. H. Chan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation SciencesThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonHong Kong, SAR
  2. 2.Institute of PsychologyIllinois Institute of TechnologyChicagoUS
  3. 3.Hong Kong Workers Health CenterKowloonHong Kong, SAR

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