Research findings from CARWH conference now online

Workplace representatives, policy-makers and injured worker representatives shared the audience with researchers and students at the Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health (CARWH) conference held in Toronto in May.

Published: July 20, 2010

Those who could not attend can still catch up on the research findings online. Abstracts of each presentation are available on the CARWH conference website, and in some cases, the presenter’s slides are also posted online (see

In addition, podcasts are being developed for several presentations, based on recommendations from the conference’s closing panel, comprised of experts in workers’ compensation, occupational disease, return to work and disability prevention.

Abstracts are available for more than 75 oral presentations and symposia. Different sessions, each with up to five presenters, included the following topics:

Protecting vulnerable workers — There were two sessions devoted to this topic, which included studies on Newfoundland youth, work and health; language literacy among immigrants; small businesses employing immigrants in Montreal; and cultural issues in return-to-work and disability prevention, among others.

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) — During the two sessions on MSDs, there were studies on hand-arm vibrations; social inequalities; work-role functioning; and two reviews on participatory ergonomics, in English and French.

Sustainable return to work (RTW) — Thirteen presentations on return to work were delivered at three sessions. Presenters spoke about the impact of an early RTW program for MSDs; a RTW program for contact dermatitis; predicting back pain recovery; and presenters delivered findings from two systematic reviews, one on workplace interventions for mental health and the other on work disability in rural health-care workers.

Work hazards and exposure measurement — In two sessions, there were studies ranging from broad research on trends in shift work and national exposure data, to research on specific groups such as police officers, truck drivers, office workers and wharf workers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

There were also sessions on prevention, knowledge exchange, occupational disease, economic incentives and regulation, workers’ compensation, and education, training and health promotion, from far afield as France and Australia. Also of note were symposia organized around issues of particular interest: stigma and injured workers; asbestos; and research by the new Occupational Cancer Research Centre.

The CARWH conference was supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, WorkSafeBC, the Ontario Ministry of Labour and the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia. The Institute for Work & Health hosted the conference.