Research Highlights

Research Highlights is an easy-to-read, lay-audience summary of a study led by a scientist from the Institute for Work & Health (or includes an Institute scientist on its research team) that has been published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal. Each research summary explains why the study was done, how it was done, what the researchers found and the implications of the study, where applicable. 
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Prolonged standing on the job associated with higher risk of heart disease than prolonged sitting

Workers who predominantly stand on the job are at greater risk of heart disease than workers who predominantly sit. Workplace prevention efforts should target excessive standing, as well as excessive sitting, to protect the cardiovascular health of workers.
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Workers with disabilities report greater OHS vulnerability

Workers with disabilities are more likely to be exposed to hazards at work than other workers, and are more likely to experience vulnerability due to inadequate measures to mitigate those hazards.
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The role of chronic conditions and physical job demands on differences in work activity limitations between women and men

The differing levels of work activity limitations among women and men are explained by the different chronic conditions they are likely to have and the different physical demands they are likely to face on the job.
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Workplaces that focus on both operations and safety can succeed at both

Workplaces that jointly manage operations and occupational health and safety (OHS) perform well at both, and no worse than workplaces that focus on only one. There’s no evidence that success in operations requires a trade-off with safety.
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Are older workers off work longer after an injury because of the nature of their injuries?

Older men and women with work-related injuries remain off work on benefits longer than other workers, and this longer time off work is not explained by the type or severity of their injuries.
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Pain and long-term absences among Canadian nurses with MSIs

Two important factors associated with how long Canadian female nurses stay off of work due to musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) are the level of pain and the extent to which pain interferes with job duties.
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The role of co-workers in return to work

Return-to-work (RTW) models and policies can be improved by taking into account social relations within a work unit, especially the role of co-workers.
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Development of a brief psychosocial screening instrument for people with low-back pain

The Pain Recovery Inventory of Concerns and Expectations (PRICE), is a psychosocial screening questionnaire for workers with low-back pain that can estimate the overall likelihood of quickly recovering and returning to work within three months after injury.
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The relationship between age and risk of work injury in B.C.

It's not just extreme temperatures that put workers at risk of health hazards related to heat or cold exposure. According to emergency department records, hazards exist even at moderate temperatures.
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The role of health-care providers in complicated claims

Problematic interactions among health-care providers, injured workers and workers’ compensation boards may delay the return to work of injured workers with complicated claims. The result can be frustration, financial difficulties and mental health problems for injured workers.
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Ontario youth work injury rate declining more steeply, converging with adult rate

From 1999 to 2007, the lost-time claim rate for young Ontario workers (ages 15 to 24) declined more steeply than the adult rate, and as a result the two rates are converging.
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Precarious employment may affect worker health

A longitudinal study of a representative sample of Canadian workers finds certain work characteristics are linked with precarious employment and put workers at increased risk of poor physical health.
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Work absenteeism and recurrent neck pain

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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Changing work conditions in three provinces

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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Changes in physiotherapy use for MSDs highlight inequality of access

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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Reducing musculoskeletal symptoms in health-care workers

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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Improving health and safety in small businesses

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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What is the association between occupation and suicide risk among working Canadians?

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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Why some injured workers don’t return to work as expected

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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Are ergonomic interventions cost-effective?

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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