New study aims to keep PSWs safe in the workplace
PSWs have a unique work environment that includes working in and travelling between clients’ homes. A DeGroote School of Business professor is leading a new study aimed a better understanding what impacts the occupational health and safety of the workers.
A McMaster researcher is shining some light on the issue of safety for Ontario’s community-based personal support workers.
Workers across the province, known as PSWs, will be asked to share their views on the physical, emotional and psychosocial issues that impact their occupational health for a study led by Isik Zeytinoglu, professor of management and industrial relations at the DeGroote School of Business.
The focus will be on work injuries, musculoskeletal disorders and chronic stress.
PSWs have a unique work environment that includes working in and travelling between clients’ homes. They are exposed to hazardous working conditions such as lifting and transferring of clients, violence from clients or their family members, communicable diseases, traffic accidents and unsafe work environments. Their work environment lacks many of the safety specifications found in ‘institution settings’, placing them at risk.
“Community-based PSWs work in the home/residence of their clients. There is little information on the incidence and factors affecting work-related injuries and illnesses for PSWs,” says Zeytinoglu. “Our research will provide evidence and suggest recommendations for the prevention of occupational injuries and illnesses for community based PSWs in Ontario.”
Zeytinoglu is leading a collaborative research team that includes a gerontologist, a health care association executive and a health and safety specialist.
Recommendations on policy, procedure and practice will be made in order to prevent injury and support strong occupational health programs for PSWs providing home and community care in Ontario.