Document directory

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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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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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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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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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
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
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
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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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
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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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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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 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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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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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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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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Systematic Review
Tompa E, Dolinschi R, de Oliveira C, Irvin E
This report includes appendices to the systematic review of OHS interventions with economic evaluations.
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Systematic Review
Tompa E, Dolinschi R, de Oliveira C, Irvin E
Before employers invest in workplace health and safety interventions, they want to know the financial implications of their investment. The goal of this review was to explore whether such interventions are worthwhile from an economic point of view. To find an answer, the Institute for Work & Health conducted a systematic review of studies of workplace-based health and safety interventions that also had an economic analysis. This review, as outlined in this final report, sought to answer the following question: What is the credible evidence that incremental investment in health and safety is worth undertaking?
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Research Highlights
Symptoms of depression appear to be relatively common after whiplash injury. They occur soon after the incident and can be persistent, especially if patients have a history of depressive symptoms.
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Research Highlights
According to the first ergonomic analysis of job tasks in residential carpentry, some tasks put carpenters at significant risk of injury to the low back. First among them is standing or framing walls.
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Research Highlights
For regulation to be effective, regulators need to "be in the field" undertaking investigations and actively seeking out cases of non-compliance for regulation to be effective. The mere possibility of being inspected, cited and fined is not as effective as actually being inspected.
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Research Highlights
Job characteristics are a main risk factor in occupational health and safety among young workers. Reducing the physical hazards of work through improved equipment and the work environment should be an important part of workplace safety, study finds.
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Research Highlights
Despite the legal requirement in most provinces for employers to provide health and safety to new workers, only one in five new workers actually receive such training, study finds.
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Sharing Best Evidence
Health-care workers face a high risk of developing injuries to their muscles, tendons or other soft-tissues, including back pain. These injuries are also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). IWH conducted a systematic review to summarize the existing scientific literature on the effectiveness of MSD prevention programs for health-care workers.
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Research Highlights
People with back injuries may experience different patterns of recovery. Knowing how people recover may help clinicians who treat patients with back injuries.
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Research Highlights
A study examining work injury rates for 15- to 24-year-olds in 46 regions across Ontario finds great variation rates among young workers vary greatly across the province.
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Research Highlights
Passive coping strategies—for example, withdrawing from social activities due to pain or hoping for better pain medications—slow down recovery for people with whiplash, particularly those who also have depressive symptoms.
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Tools and guides
This popular guide outlines seven principles that the research shows are associated with workplace practices that can help ensure the successful return of a worker after injury or illness.
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Research Highlights
A study of overall injury risk finds time spent in sports and recreational activities raises the risk of injury more than time spent at work.
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Research Highlights
Health-care workers are more likely to miss work because of illness and disability than workers in other sectors. This study compares disability management practices across four types of health-care workplaces: hospitals, nursing homes, private clinics and community clinics.
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Research Highlights
An overall decline in workers' compensation lost-time claim rates in Ontario from 1990 to 2003, partly explained by decreases in the industrial sectors of the number of people working in manual jobs.
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Research Highlights
A study of a large sample of sawmill workers from 1989 to 1997 finds falls and machinery are the main causes of injuries, but also that injury rates have been on the decline since 1994.
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Research Highlights
When it comes to injury risk among teenaged and young adult workers, the type of job or workplace matters more than the nature of the young workers themselves.
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Research Highlights
Some social groups are more likely than others to be affected negatively by changes in the labour market. What's more, these groups are also more susceptible to negative health effects of the insecurities that arise with these changes.
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Tools and guides
This three-part kit is designed to inform the workplace parties about what musculoskeletal disorders are and how they can be recognized, assessed and controlled to minimize their impact on workers, based upon a guideline developed by system partners in Ontario.
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