Making use of systematic reviews, and other upcoming IWH projects

A look at research funded by external grants in 2013/14

Published: August 10, 2014

Research on workplace injury and disability prevention at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) would not be as extensive without the support of our external funders. Here are some examples of what their continued support will allow IWH scientists to investigate in the coming year.

Working with local stakeholders on the application of research findings

A question IWH researchers often hear when presenting results of systematic reviews is, “How would this finding apply to our context?” Whether the research evidence is about a workplace health and safety intervention or a public health program, making use of evidence means taking into consideration a whole host of factors. What are the characteristics of the local population? What laws and regulations—or what workplace policies and practices—could affect the use of the evidence? What service or infrastructure is there to support the recommendation? What are the costs?

Finding a process to help stakeholders make use of systematic review findings is the impetus behind a new study funded by the Research and Workplace Innovation Program of the Manitoba Workers Compensation Board (WCB). The study is co-led by Dr. Stephen Bornstein, founder and director of the Newfoundland Centre for Applied Health Research (NLCAHR), and Emma Irvin, IWH’s director of research operations, who also heads up the Institute’s systematic review program. The team will produce a systematic review (or an update) and find ways to adapt it to the Manitoba context. In the process, it will develop a handbook to guide users of systematic reviews on how to apply review findings to a local context.

Determinants of health and safety in the construction sector

The Institute recently received funding for the first-ever survey of organizational policies and practices in the industrial, commercial and institutional construction sector in Ontario. Funded by the Ministry of Labour Research Opportunities Program, this study will be conducted in collaboration with the Ontario Construction Secretariat.

This study will examine many different factors to find out what the determinants of health and safety are in this sector, says IWH Associate Scientific Director Dr. Sheilah Hogg-Johnson, who shares the role of primary investigator with Senior Scientist Dr. Ben Amick. The research team will look at a wide range of factors, including firm size, unionization, organizational policies and practices, people-oriented culture, active safety leadership, safety training, disability management and so on. The study will also look at Ministry of Labour inspections and orders and learn whether they vary according to the factors above.

Engaging health-care providers in return to work

There is strong evidence that primary care doctors play an important role in whether injured workers successfully return to work. Research has also shown that doctors often find it challenging to engage in the return-to-work process. In a two-year study funded by Manitoba WCB’s Research and Workplace Innovation Program, an IWH team will examine the experience of health-care providers in the workers’ compensation system.

The team, led by IWH Scientist Dr. Agnieszka Kosny, will interview health-care providers across four provinces and ask them about challenges dealing with the system and strategies to improve their experience. The team will also draw on policy analyses and interviews with senior policy-makers to examine the various approaches for engaging primary care physicians in different jurisdictions. For a full list of grants awarded to the Institute from June 2013 to June 2014, go to: