E17 | Industrial Occupational Therapy with Paul A Fontana, OTR, FAOTA

Paul Fontana is a registered and licensed Occupational Therapist with 43 years of professional experience. Since 1986 when Paul founded the Center for Work Rehabilitation, Inc.®, CWR has been the industry leader in providing Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, Fit for Duty and Return to Work programs to the business community. The Center for Work Rehabilitation, Inc.’s® industrial programs include:

  • 􏰂  Development / implementation of quantifiable physical job descriptions and realistic post hire assessments of new hire employees utilizing real and simulated work in a non-climate controlled environment.
  • 􏰂  Back education, lifting and material handling training programs.
  • 􏰂  Train the Trainer programs in ergonomics and biomechanics / lifting.
  • 􏰂  Ergonomic Consultation, Site Evaluation and Abatement Program.
  • 􏰂  Return to work programs including work conditioning, work hardening and functional capacity evaluations.
  • 􏰂  Evaluating work injuries for causationOver the past 43 years Mr Fontana has had extensive opportunities to both teach ergonomic concepts as well as perform ergonomic assessments in both an office as well as in the industrial work sites. He taught extensive 2 day seminars on ergonomics to over 500 Occupational and Physical Therapists across the country as well as to Occupational Therapy Students in a multiple of states. In addition he has presented in depth symposiums and seminars on Fit for Duty / Return to Work Programs and Ergonomics across the country including, at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Wounded Warrior Best Practice Symposium in San Antonio, Tx, the National Ergonomics Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, NV and the National Pulp, Paper & Fiber Products Safety & Health Conference in Portland, OR.

Mr Fontana testified before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Pension and Labor Committee during the OSHA Ergonomics hearings as well as testified on behalf of the American Occupational Therapy Association before OSHA during the hearings on ergonomic guidelines for the nursing home industry. Mr Fontana was appointed by the US Secretary of Labor to serve on OSHA’s National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics (NACE).

Mr. Fontana is considered an expert by the Louisiana Office of Worker’s Compensation, as well as the state and federal court systems in the following areas:

  • 􏰂  Industry Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Return to Work / Fit for Duty Programs including quantifiable physical job descriptions, work conditioning, work hardening, functional capacity evaluations and symptom magnification
  • 􏰂  Ergonomics in the workplace
  • 􏰂  Biomechanics of Material Handling and LiftingMr Fontana has developed the Fit for Duty programs for over 50 companies in a wide variety of industries throughout the United States, including all aspects of the paper / fiber industries, oil and gas drilling and production, mining and utility companies, manufacturing, shipping and transportation, municipalities (including police and fire departments), hospitals / medical and school districts to name a few. Each of these include the on site analysis of and the developed of quantifiable physical job descriptions along with the protocols for the post hire assessments and return to work functional capacities for employees. The Center for Work Rehabilitation in Lafayette, LA and Houston, TX performs over 300 functional capacity evaluations a year and have been doing so since the company was started by Mr Fontana in 1986. Through the 2 clinics CWR has performed over 6,000 post hire assessments / year on newly hired employees resulting in dramatic reduction in injuries of newly hired employees along with similar drops in their work compensation claims and lawsuits. The Fit for Duty Program protocols are well validated thereby ensuring defensibility of the results and recommendations from the Functional Capacity Evaluations or Post Hire Assessments.Mr Fontana’s training classes on basic ergonomics and biomechanics / material handling are consistently rated as “the best training class” ever provided by the companies. Through his ergonomic assessments of critical job tasks the companies have been able to implement cost effective solutions to resolve physiological hazards inherent in the job, thereby eliminating injuries and improving employee morale.In May 2005 Paul Fontana was awarded a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association (A.O.T.A.) for his work in ergonomics, industrial injury prevention and return to work programs. It is one of the highest honors bestowed an A.O.T.A. member. In 2017 Mr Fontana was selected by AOTA as one of the most influential Occupational Therapists in the 100 year history of the Occupational Therapy profession.

Paul Fontana, OTR, FAOTA can be reached at


709 Kaliste Saloom Road Lafayette, LA 70508
337 234 – 7018 www.fontanacenter.com 

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