Thursday, 16 November 2017 11:36

University of Alta. study shows agric. workers have slower recovery time

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Blue-collar workers in rural Alberta have a tougher time getting back on their feet from injuries than their urban counterparts, University of Alberta researchers have found.

The recently published study showed that workers living in rural Alberta and employed in heavy industries like agriculture and the energy sector were 1.4 times more likely than urban workers to still be on full disability leave 90 days after being assessed for return to work.
They were also 1.6 times more likely to have a recurrence of disability benefits, and were less likely to undergo rehabilitation programs or have modified work available to help them ease back into the workforce. The research was drawn from Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta (WCB) data gathered from urban and rural employees with active injury claims.
“There are issues faced by rural workers that aren’t faced by urban workers, and they are at risk of not recovering as quickly,” said Doug Gross, a professor in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and a co-author on the study.
Rural residents shouldn’t hesitate to reach out for help when recovering from on-the-job injuries and shouldn't try to "go it alone", Gross said. Employers and the WCB also need to work on creative solutions to help rural workers as they recover, researchers suggest.

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