Workers' Compensation Safety Board of Nova Scotia

Recent Research

(Smith et al, Institute for Work and Health) Determinants and Consequences of Work-Related Injuries among Older Workers 

The past 30 years have seen increases in the number of older workers in Canadian workplaces. It is important to understand how these changes in the age composition might influence the depth of work-related injury and illness. The overall goal of this project was to explore and understand trends in the incidence and patterns of work injuries in older workers (55+,) along with the consequences of those injuries, relative to younger workers

(Gates et al, Simon Fraser University) Detecting, Handling and Controlling Nanoparticle Contamination

This paper is a next step to Gates’ Determining the Stability of Nanoparticles in Solution and Implications for Using these Materials published in April 2012. Nanotechnology is now a part of the manufacturing and research procedures in many Nova Scotia workplaces. This project explored solutions for post-spill containment of nanoparticles, including immediate safety communication and alerts to workers, and safe clean-up and removal. 

New Atlantic Canadian research identifies issues in post-secondary OHS learning

It’s the time of year when many young people are newly attending or returning to colleges and universities to further their education and build the knowledge they’ll need to reach career goals. But are they also learning about how to keep themselves and others safe and healthy at work? With research funding from WorkSafeBC and the Worker’s Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, Vernon Curran of Memorial University set out to answer that question. 

Educational Offerings in Health and Safety in Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions: A survey of Canadian Schools (RS2011-IG38)

WorkSafeBC Policy and Regulation Division e-Newsletter: Studying safety: New research identifies gaps in OHS training 

(Barnetson) 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. 

(Birrell & Martin) Workplace Emergency Planning Inclusive of People with Disabilities 

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

(Danyluk & Hon) 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.

(Davies & Demers) 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. 

(Guzman) Documenting the Economic and Quality of Life Consequences of Work Injuries for Healthcare Workers

This project aimed to quantify the economic and quality of life consequences experienced by injured B.C. healthcare workers and their families. This information can then be used to conduct comprehensive economic evaluations of occupational health and safety initiatives in healthcare that will better integrate workers’ perspectives and properly account for the costs and benefits accrued to workers and their families. 

(Fleming) 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. 

(Gates) Determining the Stability of Nanoparticles in Solution and Implications for Using these Materials 

A main goal of this research was to establish simple procedures that can be used to prepare, handle and label nanoscale particles, with a key focus on understanding their stability so new protocols can be designed for safe handling of this type of material. 

(Hodgson) 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.

(Kennedy) 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. 

(Kosny) 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. 

(Leiter) 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. 

(McGovern) Changing the Sheets: The Slider Sheet System – Phase Two: Incorporating Lessons Learned from Phase one

This research evaluated the use of a newly modified slider sheet system to assist nurses with manual repositioning of bed patients. The system is designed to reduce the physical demands required of these workers and to therefore reduce associated musculoskeletal injuries 

(Meech) Confined Space Atmospheric Hazard Risk Assessment 

This project aimed to develop a confined space atmospheric hazard risk assessment tool for use at mine reclamation sites. The intended outcome is a software tool suitable for hand held digital devices, that is able to calculate the risk assessment of hazardous gas emissions, which could be used to prevent associated accidents in the mining industry. 

(Sawyer) 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. 

(Inglis) 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. 

(Parker) 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. 

(Lyons) 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. 

(Mersereau) 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.