Does the Knowledge-to-Action (KTA) Framework Facilitate Physical Demands Analysis Development for Firefighter Injury Management and Return-to-Work Planning?
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PURPOSE: Employers are tasked with developing injury management and return-to-work (RTW) programs in response to occupational health and safety policies. Physical demands analyses (PDAs) are the cornerstone of injury management and RTW development. Synthesizing and contextualizing policy knowledge for use in occupational program development, including PDAs, is challenging due to multiple stakeholder involvement. Few studies have used a knowledge translation theoretical framework to facilitate policy-based interventions in occupational contexts. The primary aim of this case study was to identify how constructs of the knowledge-to-action (KTA) framework were reflected in employer stakeholder-researcher collaborations during development of a firefighter PDA. METHODS: Four stakeholder meetings were conducted with employee participants who had experience using PDAs in their occupational role. Directed content analysis informed analyses of meeting minutes, stakeholder views and personal reflections recorded throughout the case. RESULTS: Existing knowledge sources including local data, stakeholder experiences, policies and priorities were synthesized and tailored to develop a PDA in response to the barriers and facilitators identified by the firefighters. The flexibility of the KTA framework and synthesis of multiple knowledge sources were identified strengths. The KTA Action cycle was useful in directing the overall process but insufficient for directing the specific aspects of PDA development. Integration of specific PDA guidelines into the process provided explicit direction on best practices in tailoring the PDA and knowledge synthesis. Although the themes of the KTA framework were confirmed in our analysis, order modification of the KTA components was required. Despite a complex context with divergent perspectives successful implementation of a draft PDA was achieved. CONCLUSIONS: The KTA framework facilitated knowledge synthesis and PDA development but specific standards and modifications to the KTA framework were needed to enhance process structure. Flexibility for modification and integration of PDA practice guidelines were identified as assets of the KTA framework during its application.
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