Understanding and Reducing Community-Based Personal Support Workers’ Risk of Occupational Injury

Personal Support Workers (PSWs) provide 70-80% of all paid home care. Unfortunately, community-based PSWs experience occupational injuries at more than twice the rate of the general population. This internship centres on three complementary studies to improve our understanding of why these injuries happen and how they might be prevented:
1) An 18-month study of 930 community-based PSWs to build a risk factor model that relates their risk of pain and injury to daily client care activities, working organizational/social environment and personal circumstances.
2) Direct measurements of physical risk factors for back injury as PSWs assist clients with activities that are known to be stressful (e.g. bathing, transferring).
3) Workshops and interviews with stakeholders in the home care sector (workers, schedulers, management, ergonomists, policy makers, etc) to identify promising avenues for developing interventions to reduce injury.
Collectively, these projects will make a substantial contribution to understanding how to prevent PSW injuries.

Faculty Supervisor:

Jack Callaghan


Emily King


Saint Elizabeth Health Care




Medical devices


University of Waterloo



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