Measuring the impact of an organizational change initiative to reduce work disability in an acute-care hospital

Reasons for the study

The burden of disabling musculoskeletal pain arising from work-related causes among workers in many health-care settings is substantial. In 2011, senior management and union representatives at Niagara Health (NH) began implementing a three-year organizational change plan designed to reduce the burden of work-related injury and illness, improve return-to-work and disability management practices, and strengthen safety culture. The Institute for Work & Health supported the project by evaluating the impact of this three-year plan.

Objectives of the study

  • To compare workers’ compensation claims rates and duration at NH to a peer group of hospitals in Ontario’s health system before and after the initiation of the change plan
  • To conduct annual surveys of NH staff examining disability management processes and experiences
  • To conduct two detailed case studies of the organizational change process, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods

Related interviews and articles

Project status

Completed 2016

Research team

  • Cameron Mustard, Institute for Work & Health
  • Ben Amick, Institute for Work & Health
  • Dwayne Van Eerd, Institute for Work & Health
  • Marni Lifshen, Institute for Work & Health
  • Andrea Chambers, Public Health Ontario

Participating organizations

Niagara Health
Ontario Nurses’ Association
Ontario Public Service Employees Union
Service Employees International Union
Occupational Disability Response Team of the Ontario Federation of Labour
Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers
Public Services Health and Safety Association

Funded by

Canadian Institutes of Health Research