INTRODUCTION: Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)/Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) frequently cause a great number of work leaves. OBJECTIVE: understand and systematize the way the factors related to RSI-WMSDs affected workers' returnto-work are described in literature as facilitating factors or barriers. METHODS: a critical review of the literature from January 2005 to October 2010, available in Lilacs, Medline and SciELO databases. Information was systematized in three categories of factors that influenced return-to-work, as facilitating factors or barriers, of personal nature, of work organizational nature, and related to the characteristics of services, systems and polices. RESULTS: from the 633 articles first analyzed, 21 met the inclusion criterion. The most relevant identified factors: personal nature - pain, psychosocial factors, work leave; organizational - employment changes, psychological work demand, organizational support, co-workers' and bosses' support; related to services, systems and polices - a back-to-work program, leave duration and support services. CONCLUSION: This study showed that return-to-work is a complex process, that it demands intersectorial polices technical cooperation and consonance of the involved actors towards the aimed targets.
RSI/WMSD; cumulative trauma disorders; occupational diseases; return-to-work; workers