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Keywords:

  • home care;
  • injury;
  • intervention;
  • occupational health

ABSTRACT Background: Few incidence studies of workplace injuries among community health workers exist, and evidence regarding the effectiveness of interventions in this population is lacking.

Objectives: To determine the incidence of workplace injury among community health workers in British Columbia; to identify predictors of injury; and to assess the effectiveness of a multicomponent intervention program in this population.

Methods: Data were collected from an intervention study of 648 community health workers from six agencies to calculate injury rates. Interventions included an education and training module, a risk assessment tool and resource guide, and a lift equipment registry.

Results: The majority of injuries were attributed to overexertion and falls. Annual incidence rates were 20.7% for reported injuries, and 8.1% for time-loss injuries. A history of previous injuries and working full time were predictors of time to first injury report. Participants who received an intervention were significantly more likely to report workplace injuries than participants in the comparison group, but were less likely to incur a time-loss injury.

Conclusions: The interventions used in this study led to increased awareness and an increase in reported injuries but resulted in fewer time-loss injuries. The mechanisms that led to these findings need to be explored further.