“We need to conduct more research on how to best get research knowledge in practical formats to OHS practitioners”
14th of June 2021
Course leader presentation: Dwayne van Eerd
From Research to Practice in Occupational Health and Safety
12th – 14th of October 2021, Lysebu hotel, Oslo area, Norway
What is your background?
My background is in Kinesiology/Ergonomics and my research focus is the prevention of work-related injuries/disorders and related work disability. Prior to my focus on research, I worked in clinical and workplace settings developing rehabilitation and prevention programs for musculoskeletal disorders for various sectors. At that time, I was frustrated about how challenging it was to find high quality evidence to support prevention practices. Now as a researcher, I strive to facilitate the use of research evidence in practice. In fact, my PhD research topic was knowledge transfer and exchange in work and health.
My research includes evaluations of various workplace practices and programs and their implementation including participatory ergonomics, musculoskeletal disorders, mental health, and violence prevention. In addition, I conduct systematic reviews of the prevention literature. My research projects include an integrated knowledge transfer and exchange approach whereby workplace stakeholders can engage in various aspects of the research. This helps to ensure that the research is relevant and improves the uptake of our research into practice.
Why do you think that From Research to Practice in Occupational Health and Safety is an important and current issue to discuss in 2021?
Workplaces and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) decision-makers and practitioners are charged with developing programs and practices to protect workers from injury and disease. They do this based on their disciplinary background education and training, their expertise on the job, and when possible, the latest research evidence. Some of our research has shown that most OHS practitioners strive to provide evidence-based solutions. However, they are often challenged in accessing and integrating the research evidence.
There has been a growing emphasis from researchers and research funders on knowledge transfer and exchange. As a result, there have been more efforts to move research into practice. Researchers and research institutions are devoting more time and resources to knowledge transfer activities. This is an important endeavor but is still a relatively new aspect of the OHS research cycle. We need to conduct more research on how to best get research knowledge in practical/useable formats to OHS practitioners. Currently there is no overarching theoretical perspective or model, but we can learn and build from those in healthcare and public health research to move forward in OHS research.
Greetings to the participants of the course
The course will provide participants with background information about knowledge transfer and research to practice. There will be a focus on practical solutions to moving research to practice in a variety of contexts. This practical focus builds upon the theory and conceptual models from the literature as well as the experiences of instructors and participants alike. We will explore various approaches to disseminate, translate, and transfer research to knowledge users and encourage implementation of research into practice to improve worker safety and health. Our integrated approach is designed to lead to better understanding and to expand the tools we have to get research into decision making and OHS practices.
We look forward to engaging with OHS practitioners, policymakers, knowledge brokers and researchers to examine existing approaches and consider creative ways to expand upon them.