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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Job settings, education linked to work disability in youth

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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Two key strategies are critical for return-to-work programs

A study of six early return-to-work strategies finds accommodation offers and communication with health-care professionals are two critical factors to success.
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More time in sports, but not work, increases youth injury risk

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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Only one in five new workers receive safety training in Canada

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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Ontario has lowest young worker injury rate

A study of injury rates among young workers finds Ontario has the lowest rate and Saskatchewan the highest.
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Some herbal drugs may ease back pain in short term

A Cochrane review of treatments for low-back pain finds positive results for three herbal medicines, particularly Devil's Claw. However, no evidence exists to suggest that any of these substances are safe and useful for long-term use.
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Ergonomics eases pain of repetitive strain injury

A worksite ergonomics program was linked to a drop in frequent and severe pain among those with repetitive strain injuries. Supervisor support and workers' ability to make decisions are also significant factors.
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How work conditions affect depression

Several workplace factors are connected with depression among female workers, including the balance between worker effort and rewards, and the balance between work and family pressures.
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Worker participation in ergonomic programs has benefits

A participatory ergonomic approach can improve risk factors related to musculoskeletal disorders, and meaningful worker participation in the process is an important aspect for the success of this approach.
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Age may predict recovery from shoulder disorders

A study of patients with shoulder disorders finds age is the only factor predicting which patients are more likely to do better after physical therapy.
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Is traction effective in treating low-back pain?

Based on current evidence, traction as a single treatment is not effective for patients with low-back pain, with or without sciatica. However, there are very few high-quality studies in this field.
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Canadians report small drop in stressful job situations

Contrary to what's often reported in the media, and to what the researchers expected, there is no evidence that Canadian workers experience more work stressors than they did five years earlier.
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Depression, poor physical health increase injured workers’ disability days

Poor physical health and more depressed mood significantly increased the total number of days that workers received compensation benefits, study finds.
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Soft-tissue injuries are associated with increased health-care visits

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders may cost society more than currently believed, as injured workers experience symptoms both before their claims and after they return to work.
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Work-related injuries reduce caregiving hours at home

Study participants recovering from work-related musculoskeletal disorders report a significant drop in the amount of time they spend providing care to family outside of work.
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