Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC
of Safety
August 2024
Fit For Duty After an Injury

What is fit for duty?  This term refers to a worker’s ability to undertake, safely, the demands of their job.  In the case of an injury this can look different from person to person and vary by situation. 

Injured workers returning to work while still recovering require suitable work/duties and a healthy dose of support (accommodation).  Both the worker and the business benefit by maintaining connections and preventing long term disability. However, the key to making this successful, and safe, is healthy collaboration between both the employer and the employee. 

In BC, “the provincial government made amendments to the Workers Compensation Act that affect return to work. Effective January 1, 2024, employers and workers have a legal duty to cooperate with each other and with WorkSafeBC in timely and safe return to work following a worker’s injury, and certain employers have an obligation to return injured workers to work in specific circumstances.” ( 

Considerations for returning to work as fit for duty after an injury include: 

  • Having a “Fit For Duty” policy, preferably in the employee handbook 
  • Following a return-to-work plan co-created by both the worker and the supervisor 
  • Providing suitable work/duty assignments for the employee and reasonable for the employer 
  • Identifying workspace issues and factors that may impact the worker in their activities 
  • Scheduling implications for the employee in terms of flexibility for appointments, etc. 
  • Reviewing current skills and abilities and potential (re)training  
Basic Training
Available by e-LearningInstructor-Led Classroom Training
Ergonomics is concerned with the “fit” between the user, equipment and environment. Ergonomics takes into account users’ capabilities and limitations to ensure tasks, functions, information and the environment suit each user. This course provides information to managers, supervisors and employees on proper ergonomic design to prevent repetitive strain injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders.
Available by e-Learning
Ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders, which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability. This course builds on the fundamentals of Ergonomics and assists managers, supervisors, and employees in implementing a musculoskeletal injuries/disorder reduction program.
Available by e-Learning
This online course introduces the concepts of radiation and radiation safety to people who work in environments where radiation is used and for anyone wanting basic knowledge on the subject. It defines radiation and creates a better understanding of its impacts within the manufacturing and food processing sectors, and to recognize radiation regulatory bodies.
Videos & Webinars
Fit For Duty After an Injury Resources and Tools
A Culture of Safety We know that with proper training and easy to follow processes that every business is capable of reducing their injury rates. Safety Culture, however, is more than following the rules. Safety Culture is a value that never changes and isn’t subject to shifting priorities within an organization. When all levels of […]
The Return-to-Work (RTW) COR certification program will be discontinued after 2021.
WorkSafeBC is the provincial agency dedicated to promoting safe and healthy workplaces across B.C. They partner with workers and employers to save lives and prevent work-related injury, disease, and disability.
A musculoskeletal injury (MSI) is an injury or disorder of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels or related soft tissue, including a sprain, strain, and inflammation, which may be caused or aggravated by work. Well-known MSIs include sprains and strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, trigger finger, white finger diseases, and epicondylitis (tennis elbow).
The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC is proud to introduce the MSI Prevention Guide, a source of guidance to an organization in implementing an ergonomics program at their workplace.
In the Safety Committee Track, get an overview of important industrial safety topics to help you identify hazards and opportunities to improve workplace safety throughout your facility. Nearly 40 cents of every dollar spent on workplace injury claims in British Columbia are related to musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs)—strains, sprains, and inflammation that not only keep people […]
Ale (KSW Lawyer): If an employer terminates an employee within six months due to the injury, they may be liable for breaching the Duty to Maintain Employment. The determining factor is whether the termination was related to that worker’s compensable injury. WorkSafeBC wants to dissuade employers from terminating injured workers due to their injury and […]
Ale (KSW Lawyers): The Duty of Maintain Employment is not indefinite; it runs to the second anniversary of a worker’s date on injury. If a worker has been unable to return to work over two years from the date of injury, the obligation to maintain employment ends.
When an employee needs an employer-supported disability or medical leave, their leader has a significant impact on their experience before, during and after their leave from work. Leaders learn how to empower their employees to take the lead on how to stay in touch, what leaders and co-workers can and can not say to employees, […]
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Conference Session
When organizations begin to implement principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion, it can be helpful to let people connected to your organization know that your goal is to cultivate belonging. In this session discover the IDEAL Principles (Inclusion Diversity Equity Accessibility – Leading to belonging) developed by Realize Canada, and explore how you can use […]
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The difference between a comprehensive, effective return to work program and one that only addresses bare-minimum obligations can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual WorkSafeBC premiums. There is not only a financial incentive to develop supportive disability management strategies, but it has been proven that workers who return to safe, appropriate work […]
The difference between a comprehensive, effective return to work program and one that only addresses bare-minimum obligations can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual WorkSafeBC premiums. There is not only a financial incentive to develop supportive disability management strategies, but it has been proven that workers who return to safe, appropriate work […]
The difference between a comprehensive, effective return to work program and one that only addresses bare-minimum obligations can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual WorkSafeBC premiums. There is not only a financial incentive to develop supportive disability management strategies, but it has been proven that workers who return to safe, appropriate work […]
Teresa (WorkSafeBC): A worker can, but they are not obligated to, share their medical information. Many doctor’s reports can include information that is not relevant to the claim and is the confidential, private, information of the worked. For medical information to help identify suitable work, you can direct a worker to physiotherapy for the completion […]
Teresa (WorkSafeBC): We offer a Return to Work Coordinator course. It is a two-day course focuses on the role and responsibilities of a return-to-work (RTW) coordinator, providing participants with the information, tools, and templates that will allow them to do the job. The course focuses on the value of a proactive approach, which provides support […]
Amanda (TeksMed Service): Employers should keep in mind they do not NEED to wait for medical to make an offer of suitable/modified work. They can base the offer off common-sense restrictions (Ie: one-handed duties for a left-hand injury). Also, other treatment providers can provide limitations or assist in reviewing modified work (Ie: Physiotherapist). As WCB […]
Quick Reference Card
Every successful senior executive wants to reduce costs and improve productivity and profitability. Although meeting production schedules is traditionally seen as the highest priority, a business case can be made for seeing effective safety performance as an equally viable means of improving the bottom line. The cost of poor safety performance negatively impacts the bottom […]
The scope of skills and knowledge required to succeed in occupational and environmental health and safety continues to grow and change. Yet with hundreds of differing occupational health and safety designations and certifications offered in Canada alone, the process of recruiting and hiring a qualified practitioner can be challenging for an employer—and equally frustrating for […]
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Teresa (WorkSafeBC): The new legislation provides a legal framework for supporting an injured worker’s return to, or continuation of work.
Toolbox Talk
Ergonomics works to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries (MSI), including damage to muscles, bones or joints through designed workplaces, equipment, systems, and work. On average, MSI claims are 34% of all WorkSafeBC claims. From 2011 to 2020, that was an average of 17,891 claims per year.
Quick Reference Card
Has been present ever since human beings began interacting with the environment. Ergonomics actually emerged as a scientific discipline in the 1940s due to the technological advances of World War II
Poster tips for stretches that can be done at any workstation throughout during periodic wellness breaks to counter stiffness from static work and potentially limit risk of sprains or strains in more active jobs.
Fatigue is feeling tired weary from sleep, mental or physical work, or stress. Boring repetitive tasks can increase feelings of fatigue. Fatigue is either acute or chronic.
Explore emerging trends in ESG and health and safety based on the results of a three-year National Safety Council study on The New Value of Safety, in partnership with the Lloyd’s Register Foundation. Companies that effectively integrate ESG strategies into their health and safety programs are positioned to attract and retain talent, improve productivity, and appeal […]
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A guide to setting up your home office ergonomically.
Teresa (WorkSafeBC): There is no limit prescribed. If the work is being completed regardless of accommodations than there is no effect. If providing accommodations becomes an undue hardship, then that will be reviewed. Make sure you document why an accommodation is not possible. Amanda (TeksMed Services): There is no set figure.
Amanda (TeksMed Services): Being on Probation does not bar a worker from claim, however the Duty to Maintain employment only applies to workers who have been employed for at least 12 months. Many workers have underlying or pre-existing conditions, the Board can consider accepting this as only an aggravation to a pre-existing condition and/or may […]
Teresa (WorkSafeBC): The duty to cooperate requires workers to “not unreasonably” refuse suitable work when it is made available by an employer with whom the worker has an existing employment relationship. If a worker refuses work duties that are suitable and available, WorkSafeBC will investigate to determine the reasonableness of the worker’s refusal. If WorkSafeBC […]
Ale (KSW Lawyer): The Duty to Cooperate is reciprocal. Employees also have a duty to communicate with the employer and WorkSafeBC. Failure to do so puts them at risk of losing claim benefits. The Duty to Cooperate is applicable to cases where a worker is disabled from earning full wages, even if they were employed […]
Your safety committee may be a well-oiled machine, but unless both your company leadership and your colleagues are on board, it’s impossible to make change happen at work. Getting positive action on your committee’s recommendations requires influence at the leadership level, and often with your co-workers as well.In this session: Learn effective strategies to gain […]
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Ale (KSW Lawyers): Terminating a worker and paying them termination pay does not automatically cancel the Duty to Maintain Employment obligations. Employers may still be required to establish that the termination was unrelated to the injury under the WorkSafeBC system. Whether there was a breach of the Duty to Maintain Employment is determined on a […]
Leadership allows leaders to influence to achieve a quality that inspires and attracts people to follow and demonstrates that a leader acts on the cause. A strong and visible leadership can help prevent accidents, injuries, and other risks. It also helps create a high standard of safety management and health.
As humans, we lean into stories and away from lectures, which is why leaders who use storytelling get more buy in and increased productivity. In this talk, Shannon Peel explains how to use story to connect with your team, train them to do better, and inspire them to step up. This talk is for leaders […]
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All incidents are preventable Occupational Health and Safety is an ethical responsibility Occupational Health and Safety is good business Occupational Health and Safety is a shared responsibility Occupational Health and Safety is a culture Occupational health and safety objectives and goals Occupational Health and Safety is universal
Walking into a company where safety is ingrained in the organization from the ground floor to the leadership suite, it doesn’t take long to see and hear the impact. It’s the kind of organizational culture where everyone has bought into the vision—where everyone feels valued and valuable. And it starts with leaders. But what happens […]
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Conference Session
Understand the importance of emotional intelligence in leading and supporting a psychologically safe workplace. This interactive session will equip you with practical tools and strategies to improve self-awareness, empathy, and communication skills. Learn how to strengthen workplace relationships and create a safe, inclusive work environment that fosters a culture of trust, respect, and well-being in […]
Toolbox Talk
We lift, handle, and carry objects as part of work and our daily living. There is no legal threshold limiting what weight you can lift. At what point have you decided that lifting a specific item by yourself would NOT be a good idea? Have you ever been taught the right way to lift a load? Do you know the dos and don’ts for lifting?
Manual materials handling is handling items by lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying, holding, or restraining. It is the most common cause of occupational fatigue and lower back injuries. Three quarters of Canadians whose job includes manual handling suffer from back injury at some point. Many are unable to return to their jobs and some are […]
Safety champions are at the heart of your health and safety culture. Without their infectious enthusiasm, belief, and influence, your safety initiatives will lose momentum, and the culture you want will struggle to take hold. In this session, learn to identify and mentor the safety champions in your business. Identify the characteristics that make an […]
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The goal of this self-assessment checklist is to help you to set up your office optimally for your self-productivity. This checklist is for reference only and does not replace an ergonomics workstation assessment carried out by a professional ergonomist.
Teresa (WorkSafeBC): I am not sure if that has been a consideration, as it is outside of my department, but if you would like to know, please send an email so that I can forward it to the appropriate department and try to find an answer for you.
In Canada each year, 2.3 million adults experience a musculoskeletal injury (MSI) serious enough to limit their normal activities. While MSIs are a common cause of lost-time injuries in the workplace, many employers and workers are not aware of good practices in preventing and/or reducing their effects. Find out what changes can be made to […]
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Resilience has become a buzzword in the wake of the Pandemic. But truly understanding what gives us energy and what drains it—and developing strategies to shore up our reserves—is a vital life skill for every leader. And for everyone! In this interactive session with an executive coach, learn research-based keys to train your brain, manage […]
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With the opioid crisis unchecked in Canada and drug and alcohol use on the rise, few employers are entirely immune from the impact. From pre-shift cannabis use to a drink over lunch to a debilitating addiction, the level of impairment can vary—but long term, employers feel the effects through lost productivity and poor service, accidents […]
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Teresa (WorkSafeBC): Undue hardship refers to a point at which accommodating a worker becomes too difficult, unsafe, or costly for the employer. WorkSafeBC determines if the situation meets the undue hardship criteria on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific circumstances of each situation. Employers are obligated to identify and offer work that is […]
Quick Reference Card
A stay-at-work/return-to-work program provides the financial, social, and psychological benefits and stability of remaining in the workforce while injured or unwell.
Amanda (TeksMed Services): Employers should keep in mind they do not NEED to wait for medical to make an offer of suitable/modified work. They can base the offer off common-sense restrictions (Ie: one-handed duties for a left-hand injury). Also, other treatment providers can provide limitations or assist in reviewing modified work (Ie: Physiotherapist). As WCB […]
Amanda (TeksMed Services): This depends on the circumstances, failure to report is not always necessary a bar to claim but can be depending on the situation and circumstances. One would need to review the specifics for a recommended action, but generally one can always ask WCB to investigate or if the factors are strong enough […]
Ale WorkSafeBC: keeps a record of the phone calls throughout a claim. Case Managers often summarize conversations after speaking to a worker or an employer. You can find this under the “Communications” tab via the online claim portal. The call centre may also “log” a message that you leave for the Case Manager, Vocational Rehabilitation […]
Teresa (WorkSafeBC): In response to your question, it seems that you are asking about the DTME and how to communicate to the employer that they cannot terminate an employee who may not meet the DTME because they were recently hired. The DTME applies to employers who regularly employ 20 or more workers and workers who […]
Ale (KSW Lawyers): WorkSafeBC can adjudicate whether the worker is expected to remain in the accommodated role and whether they are entitled to wage loss benefits in these cases. Since the Duty to Maintain Employment poses a positive duty on the employer to find alternate work, exploring alternate accommodation/position may be required if the current […]
Ale (KSW Lawyer): Employers are expected to accommodate a worker to the point of undue hardship, the point at which it is too difficult, unsafe, or expensive to remove barriers so that injured workers can return to work. If creating a new position is financially unfeasible for a business, the employer can establish that doing […]
In this thought-provoking panel discussion, women in safety and leadership roles share unique perspectives on inequities and gender disparities that can impact workplace well-being for female employees—and identify solutions. Explore the unique challenges women face in various work environments and industries. Examine gender-specific risks, ergonomic considerations, and challenges with personal protective equipment. Consider the needs […]
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News & Blog Articles
Who does this impact? WorkSafeBC has announced that in 2024, as part of their Planned Inspections Initiative, they will be focusing inspections on the following manufacturing classification units (CUs). Historically, workers in these CUs are at higher risk for serious injury....
Editorial: TeksMed Services Inc. As a disability management consultant, TeksMed Services Inc. regularly counsels employers on return-to-work requirements and issues. The following is an article TeksMed published on their own website for their clients and has agreed to share it...
Leaders play a key role in creating both physically and psychologically safe workplaces. As leaders, we have the duty to guide our organizations to long-term success and to care for our essential resources and investments—time, money, and most valuably, people....
Most business leaders recognize their duty to protect workers within the four walls of their operating facilities. Even in recent years, with more employers adapting policies to address remote work, production staff in the manufacturing sector remained onsite. But what...
Ergonomics goes beyond stretching programs or choosing the right chair.  It is an important strategic consideration. In the manufacturing sector, employees are especially vulnerable to developing musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) due to several factors specific to their occupations. Risk factors such...