Easing the pain of arthritis at work

Policies, programs can keep valuable workers on the job
By Susan Singh
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 05/04/2009

HR practitioners are looking for ways to get ahead of the wave of rising benefit costs and declining employee retention. These two factors come together in the management of arthritis, a musculoskeletal condition that is a leading cause of chronic impairment and disability.

Don Russell, who has been with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) for 34 years, is an example of how adjusting work to the physical capacity of an individual can help retain a highly skilled employee. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1991, Russell has continued to work as an authorized nuclear operator for the past 17 years.

“In 1991, I was in bad shape. I could barely move and my whole body hurt. I had problems walking, getting up and down stairs and sitting for any length of time,” he says. “I was lucky I had an employer that allowed me to continue to work.”