Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Alan Salmoni


The purpose of this dissertation was to examine work-related injuries of healthcare workers. Chapter 2 analyzed Workers Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) claims data from 2004-2009 for three occupational roles (registered nurses, registered nursing assistants, and nurse aides and orderlies) working in Ontario hospitals and long-term care homes. Chapter 2 also explored changes in the body part affected, nature of injury, and accident type. Chapter 3 data described the risk perceptions of healthcare workers in long-term care. Chapter 4 utilized the Photovoice method for identifying patient lift and transfer risk factors. Chapter 5 assessed the safety climate and implemented participatory ergonomics programs in two long-term care homes.

Chapter 2 found that the number of claims remained consistent from 2004-2009 for the occupational roles in Ontario hospitals and long-term care homes. The most common body part associated with reported injuries was the trunk/back. The most common nature of injury reported was strains, sprains and tears. The most common accident type was overexertion injuries, when further analyzed the most common tasks attributed to injuries were lifting and pushing or pulling.

Chapter 3 found that healthcare workers did not appear to have the ability to identify risk, as there was little to no differentiation in the perceptions for the common causes and tasks. The lack of differentiation was in contrast to the WSIB data in Chapter 2 that clearly illustrated that overexertion injuries were the majority of accident types reported in claims. If healthcare workers do not accurately assess their risk of injury, they may not behave in a manner that avoids hazardous situations. As a result, they are placing themselves at an increased risk of injury.

Chapter 4 illustrated that Photovoice was a valuable method for identifying risk factors as the approach stimulated discussion, provided visual evidence, and did not create additional paperwork for healthcare workers.

Chapter 5 indicated that prior to implementing a participatory ergonomics program the ergonomist should assess the safety climate of the organization as this can help dictate the necessary steps and structure of the participatory ergonomics process.