Participatory ergonomics

IWH has been researching participatory ergonomics (PE) since the early 2000s. PE programs encourage an organization’s workers, supervisors and other workplace parties to jointly identify and remove the hazards or risk factors in their workplace that can cause or aggravate work-related injuries, including musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). PE programs aim to reduce the incidence of MSDs, decrease the losses associated with injury-related absences and claims, and increase productivity by improving work methods and product quality.



Participatory approach to health and safety in long-term care

Involve front-line staff when identifying and controlling hazards at long-term care homes. Those who do a job every day know the associated hazards best. A participatory approach can help prevent injuries.
Published: October 2, 2019
A New Zealand construction worker holding papers looking off-camera with a city skyline behind
Impact case study

Construction safety org adapts IWH research messages for tradesworker audience

A key program from Construction Health and Safety New Zealand—developed using IWH research—takes a participatory ergonomics approach to better prevent and manage musculoskeletal injuries among construction workers.
Published: February 2024
A long-term care worker pushes a resident in a wheelchair down the hall
Research Highlights

Implementing participatory ergonomics in the long-term care sector

It can be challenging to tackle long-standing musculoskeletal hazards in busy, high turnover settings such as long-term care homes. Despite this, an IWH study finds a participatory approach—one that involves frontline workers—can be successfully implemented and sustained.
Published: February 2022
Journal article
Journal article

Implementation of participatory organizational change in long term care to improve safety

Published: Journal of Safety Research, September 2021

Participatory approach to health and safety in long-term care

Long-term care homes are high-risk environments, and strategies to reduce workplace injuries are essential to protecting long-term care workers and the quality of care provided to residents. This video whiteboard explains why and how a participatory approach to injury prevention can help prevent injuries by involving front-line staff in the identification and control of workplace hazards.
Published: October 2019
Management and workers at K-W Hydro share a chat
Impact case study

Reduced soft-tissue injuries at Ontario utility attributed to work by ergonomics team set up during IWH study

Ten years after it took part in a participatory ergonomics study, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro's change team was still going strong.
Published: December 2016
Utility workers fix cable
At Work article

Ontario utility continues to benefit years after joining participatory ergonomics study

Reduced soft-tissue injuries at Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro attributed to work by participatory ergonomics team set up during study by IWH and others more than 10 years ago.
Published: November 2016
OHS Insider logo
IWH in the media

Making the business case for safety: Case study shows benefits of participatory ergonomics continue for years

Implementing a participatory ergonomics program takes time and money. To get your company’s senior management on board with such a program, show them this case study from the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), which shows how an Ontario utility continued to benefit years after implementing a participatory ergonomics program.
Published: OHS Insider, October 2016

Evaluating the implementation of a participatory organizational change intervention in long-term care

The Public Services Health & Safety Association’s EPIC (Employees Participating in Change) program aims to reduce musculoskeletal disorders and slip, trip and fall injuries in the long-term care sector. IWH is evaluating the implementation and effects of this organizational-level participatory ergonomics program.
Status: Completed 2019
Journal article
Journal article

Dissemination and use of a participatory ergonomics guide for workplaces

Published: Ergonomics, January 2016