Document directory

Research Highlights
A small but important minority—14 per cent—of injured workers experience recurrent neck pain, accounting for 40 per cent of all lost-time days due to neck pain, according to a study of claims made to Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
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Project report
Amick B, Farquhar A, Grant K, Hunt S, Kapoor K, Keown K, Lawrie C, McKean C, Miller S, Murphy C, Nichol K, Roche M, Sackville-Duyvelshoff C, Shermer P, Speers J, Swift M, Szabo M, Vandevis T, Young J
Can a simple tool be developed that will predict a firm’s workplace injury experience based on an assessment of its health and safety policies and practices? This was the question that a team of partners within Ontario's occupational health and safety (OHS) system set out to answer, and it looks like the answer is “yes.” This report describes the team's work developing these potential OHS leading indicators.
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Research Highlights
A study examining changes in work conditions in three provinces between 1994 and 2003-2005 finds lower levels of job satisfaction, lower levels of decision authority and co-worker support, and higher likelihood of rotating shifts and long hours.
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Research Highlights
Physiotherapy use and costs to treat musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) at a large Ontario workplace increased substantially over a 10-year period. The potential exists for unequal access to physiotherapy services among workers not privately insured or covered by their workplaces.
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Issue Briefing
This Issue Briefing draws attention to the policy challenge of coordinating and aligning both the goals and the administration of at least seven different disability income security programs in Canada.
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Impact case study
Germany's social insurance authority regularly turns to systematic reviews from the Institute for Work & Health because of their quality and reliability.
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Impact case study
Agency turns around rise of long-duration claims with a new model informed by IWH research.
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Impact case study
Union awareness program draws on IWH research findings to target all new workers–not just workers who are young.
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Impact case study
Institute scientists work with WSIB to provide ongoing evaluation of three important programs.
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Impact case study
Community research project involving injured workers identifies stigmatizing attitudes as a problem.
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Impact case study
IWH joins system partners in the creation of the MSD Prevention Guideline, an essential resource for province's enforcement efforts.
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Annual Report
The Systematic Review Program: Solutions. The Institute for Work & Health's 2009 Annual Report
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Issue Briefing
Shift work — employment with anything other than a regular daytime work schedule — makes up a large part of work in the Canadian economy. For at least 50 years, researchers have been exploring the question of whether working shifts poses a health hazard. This briefing summarizes the findings of a selection of this research, including several review articles.
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Project report
Speers J, Robson LS, Mustard C
The Occupational Health & Safety Council of Ontario (OHSCO) released its final report on system performance measurements. The report highlights trends of key performance indicators in the Ontario prevention system in 2008.
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Impact case study
Report cites IWH research as important in identifying the need for change in WSIB's service delivery model.
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Issue Briefing
This Issue Briefing provides a case study that compares the costs of the workers’ compensation scheme in the state of California with the cost of provincial workers’ compensation schemes in Canada. In California's system, compensation benefits are mainly provided through private insurers, while in Canada they are provided mostly through a single public agency in each province.
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Accomplishments Report
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Sharing Best Evidence
Occupational health and safety (OHS) training is an important part of managing workplace hazards and risks, but do they result in fewer work-related injuries and illnesses? This systematic review set out to determine whether OHS training and education programs have a beneficial effect for workers and workplaces.
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Research Highlights
Multi-component patient handling interventions can improve musculoskeletal health among health-care workers, including: a policy change at the worksite; implementation of new lift/transfer equipment; and broad-based training on the new equipment.
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Research Highlights
Health and safety interventions in small businesses can improve safety-related attitudes, behaviour and health. Evidence supports two intervention types: a combination of training and safety audits; and a combination of engineering controls, training, safety audits and rewards.
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Research Highlights
With a few exceptions, the characteristics of specific occupations do not influence the risk for suicide in Canada. For men, nine occupational groups have an elevated risk for suicide; for women, four occupational groups have an elevated risk.
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Research Highlights
For long-term and costly workers’ compensation claims, researchers identified four contexts in the return-to-work process that contributed to problems. The risk of a “toxic dose” resulted when problems occurred across the different contexts.
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Research Highlights
There is strong evidence that ergonomic interventions result in positive financial returns for firms in the manufacturing and warehousing sector and moderate evidence for the administrative and support services and health-care sectors.
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Tools and guides
This software tool is designed for workplace OHS professionals and consultants to help them calculate the costs and benefits of workplace health and safety initiatives, as well as the costs of health and safety incidents. Economics training is not needed to use this tool because economic principles have been built into it.
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Tools and guides
Agreeing on which treatments are most effective for treating neck pain is an ongoing challenge for the clinical community. From 1999-2007, an international group called the Bone and Joint Decade Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders worked to bring some clarity. This guide summarizes its findings.
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Tools and guides
This booklet contains evidence-based information on how people can live with short-term (acute) low-back pain. It contains reassuring advice about the course of typical back pain, as well as information on choosing the right treatment, what works and what doesn’t, and some common myths about back pain.
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Research Highlights
One size does not fit all. When it comes to occupational health and safety interventions, small businesses have needs that completely distinct from those of larger organizations.
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Systematic Review
Robson LS, Stephenson C, Schulte P, Amick B, Chan S, Bielecky A, Wang A, Heidotting T, Irvin E, Eggerth D, Peters R, Clarke J, Cullen KL, Boldt L, Rotunda C, Grubb P
Occupational health and safety (OHS) training is an important part of managing workplace hazards and risks. However, many OHS stakeholders want to know whether training can meet the goals of decreasing workplace injuries and illness, and whether the cost of training programs can be justified. This report shares the findings of systematic review to determine whether OHS training and education programs have a beneficial effect on workers and firms.
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Research Highlights
Ergonomics training, exercise programs, alternative pointing devices and keyboards and so on. A broad range of workplace interventions are available to reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the arm, hand, shoulder and neck. Which ones are effective?
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Research Highlights
Workers disabled by low-back pain can be grouped into three different groups: (1) those with workplace factors, (2) those with no workplace factors, but greater back pain, and (3) those with multiple factors.
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Issue Briefing
Although young males have typically had higher work-related injury rates than older ones, this trend has changed in some parts of Canada, where young men now have rates similar to those of older men. This Issue Briefing presents a detailed breakdown of workplace injury rates for men and women in three provinces over time, and suggests potential reasons for the trends.
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Impact case study
Knowledge exchanges across the prevention system helps research findings reach front-line consultants and shape service delivery model.
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Impact case study
Research by IWH team confirms for Manitoba the need to increase OHS awareness among newcomers.
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Issue Briefing
Researchers have been looking at how unemployment affects mental health since the Great Depression of the 1930s, if not earlier. This body of research has shown that becoming unemployed has a negative impact on mental health. Also, people with mental health problems are more likely than others to become unemployed. This Issue Briefing summarizes the key research behind these findings and explores the implications for policy-makers and health and safety service providers.
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Annual Report
Impact. The Institute for Work & Health's 2008 Annual Report
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Issue Briefing
Research is emerging that “newness” is associated with a higher risk of work injury. Whether it’s young workers, workers of all ages new to their jobs, recent immigrants or employees in newly established firms, the evidence indicates that these workers face higher injury rates and/or more hazardous jobs. This Issue Briefing summarizes the key research behind these findings and explores the implications for policy-makers and health and safety service providers.
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Project report
Breslin FC, Wood M, Mustard C
This report from the Institute for Work and Health and the Ontario Association of Youth Employment Centres looks at work injuries and health and safety knowledge among a high-risk group of workers: young people aged 15 to 24 who are out of school, especially those with less than a high school diploma.
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Issue Briefing
A worldwide recession has begun in the wake of the Fall 2008 meltdown of financial markets. What is the likely impact of the recession on workers’ compensation costs? Are work-related injuries likely to be more severe? What can we anticipate about claim frequency and severity when recovery occurs and economic growth resumes? This Issue Briefing explores findings from past research on workers’ compensation and the business cycle from IWH and other sources.
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Sharing Best Evidence
Injuries to the upper extremity are common among workers, accounting for about 30 per cent of lost-time claims in Ontario in 2006. The upper extremity includes the neck, shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. This systematic review looked at the effectiveness of interventions to prevent upper extremity disorders and traumatic injuries.
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Accomplishments Report
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Research Highlights
Sears JM, Hogg-Johnson S
In 2004, Washington State enacted a three-year pilot program enabling nurse practitioners to work in an expanded role as “attending providers” for injured workers. Following an evaluation, the program was made permanent. This case-study-based research showed how involving stakeholders enhanced the impact of research on health policy.
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Research Highlights
There is a lack of high quality evidence to support the use of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound therapy to speed the healing of broken bones, although overall results appear promising.
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Research Highlights
Patients who seek medical help at least six months after an upper extremity nerve injury also report a considerable level of disability that is associated, in part, with chronic pain.
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Research Highlights
A small but important minority—14 per cent—of injured workers experience recurrent neck pain, accounting for 40 per cent of all lost-time days due to neck pain, according to a study of claims made to Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
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Research Highlights
Intervention mapping is a useful framework for developing customized return-to-work (RTW) programs that have been found to be more effective than non-tailored plans.
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Research Highlights
Participatory ergonomic (PE) programs may be worth undertaking based on their financial merits — savings found not in fewer or shorter work-related injury absences but in shorter absences due to non-work injuries.
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Research Highlights
Work factors that affect job stress and job alienation can affect employee drinking behaviours off the job, study finds
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Research Highlights
While workers in non-profit organizations face a number of work-related hazards, a case study finds that provincial health and safety legislation across Canada is not always well-suited to this sector.
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Research Highlights
In a survey of 500 orthopedic surgeons in Canada and the United States, just over half held a favourable or neutral view or chiropractors. The rest had a negative view.
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Tools and guides
This evidence-based guide addresses the warning signs (red flags) of a potentially complicated recovery and return to work, as well as the helpful practices (green lights) that can help ensure the recovery and return go smoothly.
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