Workplace Health and Safety Research

Safety partners working together to explore and research healthier and safer workplaces in Nova Scotia.
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Publications

The Relationship between Workplace Safety Culture, Safety Behaviour and Injury Claims

This research investigated the influence of workplace culture on injury outcomes, based on data collected by WorkSafeNB through their “Focus Firm” program.   It  explored the degree to which workers indicate whether they are provided with education about hazards, with training and responsibility for health and safety, and with safe workplaces with a commitment from management.  Results are intended to help determine best practices for occupational health and safety.

Workplace Emergency Planning Inclusive of People with Disabilities, + (Brochure)

This research project examined current workplace emergency planning practice (in BC) in relation to exclusivity of the needs of people with disabilities. The project developed a practical handbook for employers on how to create and implement emergency plans that are inclusive of workers with disabilities.  The brochure is freely available for download. 

Assessment and Determination of Practical Considerations for Wide-scale Utilization of Elastometric Half-facepiece Respirators during a Pandemic or Outbreak Situation

N95 filtering facepiece respirators are the primary choice among respirators, but they cannot be disinfected for re-use and must be disposed of after use by a patient.  Because of high demand during a pandemic or wide-scale outbreak, availability can become extremely limited from suppliers. This project investigated whether it was feasible to utilize reusable elastomeric half-facepiece respirators in place of N95 filtering facepiece respirators.

Cancer and Lung Disease in Relation to Sawfiling and Endotoxin Exposure among Sawmill Workers

This research project examined the relation of lung disease and cancer to hard metal exposure and to endotoxin exposure among sawfilers and sawmill workers.  The research intended to explore whether employment as a sawfiler is associated with an increased risk of cancer and/or with an increased risk of hospitalization for respiratory disease; and for sawmill workers, whether exposure to endotoxin increases the risk of respiratory disease and/or is associated with a decreased risk of cancer.

Assessing Employee Safety Motivation

This research supported implementation and continuing development of a new survey to assess employees’ safety motivation. The research and survey is based in self-determination theory, a popular theory in psychology explaining human motivation and behaviour. The knowledge gleaned is intended to inform safety improvement strategies.

Detecting, Handling and Controlling Nanoparticle Contamination

This research focused on identifying and managing contamination from nanoparticles in the workplace environment. It worked to develop protocols for assessing contamination of nanomaterials in the workplace, and for cleaning up spills of solutions and/or powders containing nanoparticles.

Acoustical Environments in VCH Health-Care Facilities, Phase 1: Measurement Tools and Pilot Studies

This research was the first phase of an intervention study to address effects of noise levels in long-term health care facilities. The aim of the project was  to improve acoustical environments in health care facilities in order to reduce stress and aggressive behaviour toward staff.

Identification of Potential Risk Factors for Injury to Police Officers using New Technologies

This research explored possible links between injuries to police officers, their equipment and technology, musculoskeletal injuries and motor vehicle accidents. The research aimed to identify, develop, modify and support workplace safety and well-being initiatives, contributing to injury reduction among police officers.

Implementation & Evaluation of Warehouse Safety Training for Workers with Developmental Disabilities

This project involved the production of a safety video designed for workers who have a developmental disability. Its purpose was to educate developmentally disabled adults currently employed or seeking employment. The video is accompanied with a facilitator’s guide, including an interactive workshop component.   

Airway Obstruction and Hypersensitivity among Young Workers: 16 Year Follow up of Machinist and Construction Apprentices

The purpose of this project was to examine whether changes that occur in the lungs early in a person's working life in response to irritants or allergens at work, predict the development of chronic breathing problems later on. This was a follow-up to a previous B.C. study, which found machinist apprentices had developed more sensitive airways than other apprentices had after only two years of employment.   

Immigrant Workers' Experiences after Work-related Injury in British Columbia: Identifying Key Questions and Building Research Capacity

This research will examine immigrant workers’ experiences after a work-related injury, including issues such as their experiences with the workers’ compensation system and their knowledge of and willingness to invoke their rights. The research findings may also be used to inform more comprehensive research on injured immigrant workers in BC and across Canada.

Developing a Safety Climate: Shared Assumptions and Interventions

This project addressed safety behaviour in the acute care nursing environment and tested interventions believed to influence nurse behaviour and health outcomes. 

Using Remotely Operated Jacks to Fall Dangerous Trees

The objective of this project was to determine possibilities for using light-weight remotely operated jacks to hand fall dangerous trees, and therefore reduce the risk of injury to hand fallers. This project first determined the jacking force required to fall dangerous trees given the amount and location of the holding wood. Given the required jacking force it was determined if it was possible to develop a remotely operated jack that weighs less than 10 lbs.

Breaking New Ground: Does Radon Present a Health Risk to Nova Scotia Workers?

There is lack of clarity concerning health risks for Nova Scotia workers exposed to radon exceeding the naturally occurring radioactive materials limit.  Radon can move freely through small places in the soil and rock, enabling it to enter the atmosphere or seep into buildings through dirt floors, cracks in concrete walls or floors, sump pumps, joints, or basement drains.  A previous assessment carried out in Nova Scotia has shown that areas in the province are radon prone.  As such, the research aimed to characterize its sources of entry and the levels of air concentrations within workplaces in Nova Scotia.  

Development of Descent Guidelines for Log-hauling Vehicles: Highway Legal Configurations

This research project aimed to develop safe descent guidelines for highway size logging trucks, with the intention to use these guidelines to establish criteria for safe descent of steep roads, thereby improving the safety for drivers of these vehicles.

Preventing Needle-stick Injuries and the Use of Dental Safety Syringes

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether currently available safety engineered syringes are clinically appropriate to use in dental setting.  It investigated whether safety engineered syringes contribute to safety and decrease the risk of injury and subsequent disease transmission to dental healthcare personnel, and if so, which safety engineered syringes provide the highest level of protection available.