Document directory

Accomplishments Report
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Research Highlights
Workplace programs that aim to reduce stresses on the body – also known as mechanical exposure – are one way to prevent and reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), or soft-tissue injuries.
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Research Highlights
Steenstra I, Knol DL, Bongers PM, van Mechelen W, de Vet H
A workplace-based program that has workers and supervisors jointly identify and solve return-to-work barriers is found to be particularly effective in reducing absences among older workers and workers previously off work due to an illness.
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Research Highlights
Interventions against sexual harassment at work should prioritize precarious work situations, particularly in the service sector, study suggests.
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Research Highlights
What worker or workplace factors are linked to musculoskeletal or mental health problems among nurses and support staff? This study of 21,000 health-care workers points to heavy workloads among the most important factors.
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Tools and guides
This booklet outlines six key steps that have been shown in the research to contribute to the success of a participatory ergonomics program, based on a systematic review by IWH researchers.
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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
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
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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Research Highlights
Workplace factors (such as firm size and union status) have greater influence than individual factors (such as health) on the likelihood that an injured worker will be offered and will accept modified work. The findings suggest more attention needs to be paid to workplace factors early in the return-to-work process.
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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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Systematic Review
MacEachen E, Breslin FC, Kyle N, Irvin E, Kosny A, Bigelow P, Mahood Q, Scott-Dixon K, Morassaei S, Facey M, Chambers L, Couban R, Shannon HS, Cullen KL, Amick B
Small businesses have unique challenges with occupational health and safety (OHS). Overall, workers in small business have a higher risk of injury than workers in large firms, yet small-business owners and their workers may not have a sense of this increased risk because a work injury in any one small workplace is relatively rare. This reports shares the findings of a systematic review conducted to provide an understanding of, and guidance on, how to implement OHS in small businesses and what OHS programs are most likely to work.
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Sharing Best Evidence
Injury/illness prevention and loss control programs (IPCs) help protect workers from injuries, meet regulatory requirements, reduce the negative effects of injuries and manage costs. IPCs include the three Ps: work practices among employees, policies developed by employers and programs required by legislation. This systematic review has shown that there is strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of disability management/return-to-work programs.
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Systematic Review
Amick B, Kennedy-Yee CA, Dennerlein JT, Brewer S, Catli S, Williams R, Serra C, Gerr F, Irvin E, Mahood Q, Franzblau A, Van Eerd D, Evanoff B, Rempel D
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. The systematic review described in this report looked at the effectiveness of interventions to prevent upper extremity disorders and traumatic injuries. Note that this systematic review was updated in 2016.
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Research Highlights
A study of five non-surgical treatments for neck pain — nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Cox-2 inhibiting NSAIDs, exercise, mobilization, and manipulation — found no one treatment option for neck pain was found to be clearly superior when both benefits and harms were considered.
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Annual Report
Achieving Together. The Institute for Work & Health's 2007 Annual Report
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Accomplishments Report
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Sharing Best Evidence
Small businesses have unique challenges with occupational health and safety (OHS). This systematic review was conducted to provide an understanding of, and guidance on, how to implement OHS in small businesses, and to identify effective OHS programs.
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Research Highlights
Temporary work does not appear to increase the rate of work-related injury or illness absences lasting a week or longer. What's more, those with multiple temporary jobs had fewer absence spells.
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Research Highlights
Neck pain is a persistent and recurring problem in workers. About 60 per cent of workers who experienced neck pain reported having it one year later.
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Research Highlights
Workers aged 15 to 24 with a compensation claim, when cto their peers without a claim, have higher levels of health-care use, both before and after their injury. That's especially true for young women with claims.
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Research Highlights
The first review summarizing studies about the impact and causes of neck pain in the general population finds it a common condition. Risk factors include age, gender and genetics, as well as smoking, exposure to tobacco, and psychological health.
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Research Highlights
There is not enough evidence to confirm or refute that low-level laser therapy is beneficial in treating patients with non-specific low-back pain, according to a systematic review.
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Research Highlights
People with less say about how they do their work—that is, with low job control—are more likely to have poorer health. According to this study on the influence of job control versus other related factors, certain combinations of factors have cumulative effects on workers' health.
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Sharing Best Evidence
In participatory ergonomics (PE), a team works together to identify risks, and change tools, equipment and work processes to improve workplace conditions. PE programs can reduce work-related injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues. This systematic review identifies the factors that can increase the likelihood of a successful PE program in workplaces.
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Research Highlights
Nearly half of those diagnosed with whiplash-associated disorders reported neck pain symptoms one year after their injury. Those with more severe initial symptoms faced even slower recovery, according to a study.
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Systematic Review
Van Eerd D, Cole D, Irvin E, Mahood Q, Keown K, Theberge N, Village J, St Vincent M, Cullen KL, Widdrington H
In participatory ergonomics (PE), a team works together to identify risks and change tools, equipment and work processes to improve workplace conditions. PE interventions have been shown to reduce work-related injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues. What elements of a participatory ergonomic intervention can help ensure its success in workplaces? This systematic review report answers this important question.
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Research Highlights
The use of X-rays by chiropractors, especially for low-back pain, has long been controversial. According to this study, instruction at most chiropractic schools seems to be following evidence-based guidelines on the use of X-rays for managing many aspects of low-back pain.
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Research Highlights
Early return-to-work policy in many jurisdictions is underpinned by the "hurt" versus "harm" concept — that the pain a worker experiences after an injury does not cause harm or inhibit recovery. But there are situations in which this concept does not apply.
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Research Highlights
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Research Highlights
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Research Highlights
Young workers who are not in school have higher injury rates, suggesting that additional workplace training programs may be needed outside of the formal school system to reach more at-risk young workers.
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Research Highlights
An approach used by the Institute for Work & Health to involve non-researchers in systematic reviews offers several benefits, providing the basis for the inclusion of stakeholders as a permanent step of conducting reviews.
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Research Highlights
Even after they first return to work, people with MSDs may still experience pain, depressive symptoms and work limitations, according to a study on recurring absences.
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Systematic Review
Van Eerd D, Cole D, Irvin E, Mahood Q, Keown K, Theberge N, Village J, St Vincent M, Cullen KL, Widdrington H
This report contains appendices to the 2008 systematic review on the process and implementation of participatory ergonomics interventions.
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Research Highlights
Despite a lack of official data on the labour force participation of pre-teens and young teens, 12- to 14-year-olds are working and getting exposed to the same OHS risks as other workers, according to a study conducted in Ontario and B.C.
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Research Highlights
Neck pain in workers results from a number of individual and workplace factors. This review examines the role of age, physical fitness, work demands, job insecurity, among others.
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Research Highlights
Despite reports linking chiropractic care with vertebrobasilar artery (VBA) stroke, this study finds no evidence that visits to a chiropractor increase the risk of a stroke.
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Research Highlights
Working in a not-for-profit social service organization can be rewarding, but the job can come with health risks. However, a study finds the organization's mission can be a powerful concept in non-profit organizations, resulting in workers putting their clients’ well-being before their own.
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Tools and guides
This tool, based on IWH's Seven "Principles" for Successful Return to Work, offers guidance to occupational therapists on how to collaborate with workplace parties in the development of successful return-to-work programs.
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Research Highlights
Clinicians who assess patients with neck pain should triage them into one of the four categories or grades to determine the need for further diagnosis or treatment.
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Systematic Review
Brewer S, King E, Amick B, Delelos G, Spear J, Irvin E, Mahood Q, Lee L, Lewis C, Tetrick L, Gimeno D, Williams R
Injury/illness prevention and loss control programs help protect workers from injuries, meet regulatory requirements, reduce the negative effects of injuries and manage costs. An IWH systematic review on these programs found strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of disability management/return-to-work programs. Read about the reviews findings and recommendations in this report.
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Annual Report
Evidence at Work. The Institute for Work & Health's 2006 Annual Report
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