UBC Faculty Research and Publications

In Search of Concrete Outcomes—A Systematic Review on the Effectiveness of Educational Interventions on Reducing Acute Occupational Injuries Li, Jim; Pang, Max; Smith, Jennifer; Pawliuk, Colleen; Pike, Ian


Education is a common strategy used to prevent occupational injuries. However, its effectiveness is often measured using surrogate measures instead of true injury outcomes. To evaluate the effectiveness of workplace educational interventions, we selectively analyzed studies that reported injury outcomes (PROSPERO ID: CRD42019140631). We searched databases for peer-reviewed journal articles and sources of grey literature such as abstracts, registered trials, and theses published between 2000 and 2019. Studies on educational interventions that reported fatal or non-fatal occupational injury outcomes were selected. Two reviewers independently and in duplicate screened the studies, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias. Heterogeneity in the data precluded meta-analysis, and the results were reviewed narratively. In total, 35 studies were included. Of which, 17 found a significant reduction in injuries, most of which featured a multifaceted approach or non-didactic education. The remaining studies either described equivocal results or did not report statistical significance. Overall, interventions in the manufacturing industry were more effective than those in the construction sector. Risk of bias among included studies was moderate to high. In conclusion, educational interventions could be an effective part of multifaceted injury prevention programs. However, over-reliance on didactic education alone is not advised.

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