Lab Canada

New study points out evidence based strategies from SARS to improve workplace safety

Toronto, ON – June 4, 2004 – A new research report issued by the Change Foundation and the Ontario Hospital Association uses the SARS experience to identify future research opportunities to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

"Protecting the Faces of Healthcare Workers" presents the evidence from the SARS outbreak to improve workplace safety and make recommendations for future research into the spread of infectious diseases and effective preventative measures. The recommendations were based on the analysis from literature review and information obtained through focus groups of health-care workers who battled SARS.

The report was funded by the Imperial Oil Foundation, which directed funds to the OHA through the Change Foundation. “It was through the generous contribution by the Imperial Oil Foundation that we were able to conduct this leading-edge research and help protect our front line workers from future, unknown diseases,” said Hilary Short, OHA president and CEO.

The study was conducted by the Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare in BC led by co-principle investigators Dr Annalee Yassi and Dr Elizabeth Bryce. They received guidance from a special committee consisting of experts from Canada and US, led by Dr Donald Low, director of infection control at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

The report outlines three key areas for future research. The first is how to improve the workplace health and safety and find the best methods of meaningful knowledge translation, the second is to study further the epidemiology and transmission of respiratory pathogens, and the third is to find methods of risk reduction through engineering controls and personal protective equipment.