Critical Incident Response

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Brendan was referred to OccHealth by Altius for Work-Related Activity Treatment for help returning to his pre-injury work duties

Brendan suffered a left inguinal hernia whilst working as a manager for Fuel Delivery Services. In this position he was required to work 8-10 hours per day, 5-6 days per week whilst performing physical tasks including lifting/carrying oil drums weighing up to 30kg and pushing and pulling 20kg hoses with frequent squatting and bending.

Brendan was referred to OccHealth by Altius for Work-Related Activity Treatment for help returning to his pre-injury work duties. When first presented to OccHealth by Altius, Brendan suffered from a low mood as he was unable to perform his normal pre-injury duties as lifting and squatting were aggravators of his symptoms. He was also unable to perform landscaping of his backyard, an activity that brought him immense satisfaction and enjoyment. Brendan had also withdrawn from community soccer and stopped socialising with friends.

Brendan experienced many of the challenges most injured workers experience when they are unable to perform their work duties and activities that bring them joy:

  • Decreased strength due to avoidance of activities.
  • Uncertainty in the length of recovery and rehabiltiation.
  • Increased financial and personal stress because of their sudden change of lifestyle and working limitations.

The objective of referring Brendan to OccHealth by Altius was to assist with his recovery and incorporate OccHealth by Altius’ approach of achieving positive outcomes for injured customers in a short-time frame, providing additional solutions and evidence-based practices.

It was identified early that Brendan’s primary barrier to returning to his normal lifestyle was the impact that his pre-injury work duties had upon his injury. OccHealth by Altius’ team of exercise physiologists, identified that for Brendan to increase his ability and confidence to eventually return back to his normal life, he would need to modify and change some of his workplace behaviours.

Our Approach

We developed workplace-based strategies and solutions to long-standing problems which enabled Brendan to restore his confidence, function and safely return to work, performing all of his required duties, even beginning to mow and clip the lawns again. This included:

  • Observation of his work tasks to ensure they were performed in the safest way and allowing a translation from the gymnasium-treatment environment into the workplace.
  • Identifying and addressing risky behaviors through ongoing communication with all parties to ensure a smooth transition back to pre-injury duties.
  • Implementing safety strategies through education and self-management tool.

At initial presentation Brendan was not working for the first four weeks of his treatment program. After 4 weeks he returned to work on light duties, with lifting restrictions, on a part-time basis. On completion of the Work Related Activity Treatment Brendan was certified to return to full-time hours and his pre-injury duties with no restrictions – just 12 weeks following the Workplace Treatment Sessions.

He is now able to safely lift 40kg from floor to waist and fulfil all his necessary work duties. Brendan even felt empowered to continue with his gymnasium program independently following OccHealth’s intervention and he is back gardening and playing soccer. The program has empowered Brendan to ensure his work colleagues are also equipped and educated with correct manual handling techniques and safe work practices.