August/September 2022 (vol. 19/2)

ContentsFeaturesNewsLegal NewsResearch DigestResearch PlusCPD

The smart return-to-work plan: Part 1

Part 1: the concepts


In the first article of a two-part series, Kim Burton and Serena Bartys explain the rationale and supporting evidence for the development of‘ smart’ return-to-work plans.

Occupational health (OH) professionals know that work is generally good for our health and wellbeing, and they appreciate the nuance that it is actually good jobs that are good for us1. The US rheumatologist and author Professor Nortin Hadler’s aphorism springs to mind: ‘Work should be comfortable when we are well and accommodating when we are not’2. Arguably, this is at the foundation of good OH practice, and formed the basis of theHealth<->Work Toolbox that was developed for HSE3,4. It also fits neatly with the topic of this two-part article – Smart Return-To-Work Plans.

Why plan a return to work (RTW)? It is not always necessary, of course – most people can get back to their job without help…


Dr Serena Bartys is a principal research fellow in work and health at the University of Huddersfield.

Professor Kim Burton is a freelance researcher and professor of occupational healthcare at the University of Huddersfield.

Author: Burton K, Bartys S


Occupational Health at Work August/September 2022 (vol. 19/2) pp22-26

Download full article CPD