Youth injury rates vary across Ontario regions

In brief

  • Work injury rates among young workers vary greatly across Ontario regions.
  • Work injury prevention programs could be targeted to those regions with higher youth work injury rates.
  • Decision-makers could also examine whether occupational health and safety prevention services are distributed appropriately across the regions of Ontario.

Why was this study done?

Relatively little research has been done in Canada on the link between where young workers hold jobs and work injuries. This study described differences in work-related injuries among young workers in different regions in Ontario. Researchers also identified characteristics of the regions that were associated with this geographic variation.

How was the study done?

The researchers estimated work injury rates for 15- to 24-year-olds in 46 regions across Ontario. They used many sources, including workers' compensation claims, data from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) and Canadian Census data. Researchers looked at 21 indicators to characterize each region, such as population density, average wage earnings and average value of dwellings.

What did the researchers find?

There was a great deal of variation in work injury rates. The Rainy River District and Huron County had the lowest rates, at fewer than two injuries per 100 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Cochrane District, Lennon & Addington County/Prince Edward Division and Dufferin County had the highest rates, at more than four injuries per 100 FTEs. Greater residential stability in an area was associated with lower work injury rates. Regions with the lowest work injury rates had fewer cuts and burns than regions with higher work injury rates. Also, regions with a greater proportion of small workplaces (fewer than 20 employees) had lower work injury rates.

What are some strengths and weaknesses of the study?

One strength is the researchers were able to describe differences in the characteristics of regions and jobs across Ontario. Researchers used full-time equivalents to calculate on-the-job exposure, which is also a useful measure for part-time workers. However, there may be features associated with part-time work hours that make them different from full-time work hours.

Publication Information

Title: 

Author(s): 

Breslin FC, Smith P, Dunn JR

Journal: 

BMC Public Health, 2007: vol. 7, p. 91