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Table 2 Algorithm to assess work instability, indications for workplace visits, and intervention levels, modified from [24]

From: Shoulder function and work disability after decompression surgery for subacromial impingement syndrome: a randomised controlled trial of physiotherapy exercises and occupational medical assistance

Level of work instability Specification of work instability Indication for workplace visit and level of intervention
Level 0 Shoulder function is adequate to perform all work activities, pain is under control, work activities do not imply a risk to the shoulder (job colour code: green), and the patient does not worry that this is the case. No
Level 1 As above, but from time to time pain is a problem, work activities do not imply a risk to the shoulder (job colour code: green), but the patient worries that this may be the case, and/or the patient experiences that the employer hesitates to let the patient do his or her ordinary work activities in order to protect the shoulder. Maybe – the indication is relative. Reassure the patient (and the employer) that work can be continued/resumed.
Level 2 Work activities do not imply a risk to the shoulder (job colour code: green), but pain is aggravated to an unacceptable level, and/or shoulder function does not match all work activities. The shoulder problems are expected to resolve within 6–12 months. Yes, temporary solutions have to be established at the workplace.
Level 3 Some work activities imply a risk of worsening the shoulder condition (job colour code: yellow or red), pain is aggravated to an unacceptable level, and/or shoulder function does not match all work activities. The shoulder problems are not expected to resolve within 6–12 months. Yes, permanent solutions have to be established at the workplace.
Level 4 Major work activities imply a risk of worsening the shoulder condition (job colour code: yellow or red), pain is aggravated to an unacceptable level, and/or shoulder function does not match the work demands. The shoulder problems are not expected to resolve within twelve months. Yes, a permanent shift to another job may be necessary.
Undetermined A workplace visit is necessary to assess work instability. Yes, shoulder load has to be assessed.
  1. Job colour codes (middle column) are based on a job exposure matrix combined with a semi-structured interview.