Cohort profile: The Ontario Life after Workplace Injury Study (OLAWIS)

Cameron Mustard, Victoria Nadalin, Nancy Carnide, Emile Tompa, Peter Smith

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose The substantial economic burden of work-related injury and illness, borne by workers, employers and social security programmes, is primarily attributed to the durations of work disability among workers whose recovery requires a period of absence from work, with the majority of costs arising from the minority of workers with the longest duration absences. The objective of the Ontario Life After Workplace Injury Study is to describe the long-term health and labour market outcomes of workers disabled by work injury or illness after they are no longer receiving benefits or services from the work disability insurance authority. Participants Workers disabled by a work-related injury or illness were recruited from a sample frame of disability benefit claimants with oversampling of claimants with longer benefit durations. Characteristics of workers, their employers and claimant benefits were obtained from baseline administrative data. Interviews completed at 18 months post injury (T1) and to be completed at 36 months (T2) measure return-to-work and work status; income; physical and mental health; case manager and healthcare provider interactions and employer accommodations supporting return-to-work and sociodemographic characteristics. Of eligible claimants, 40% (1132) participated in the T1 interview, with 96% consenting to participate in the T2 interview. Findings to date Preliminary descriptive analyses of T1 data have been completed. The median age was 50 years and 56% were male. At 18 months following injury, 61% were employed by their at-injury employer, 16% had changed employment and 23% were not working. Past-year prescription opioid use was prevalent (34%), as was past-year cannabis use (31%). Longer duration claimants had poorer function, recovery and health and more adverse labour market outcomes. Future plans Multivariate analyses to identify modifiable predictors of adverse health and labour market outcomes and a follow-up survey of 96% of participants consenting to follow-up at 36 months are planned.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere048143
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • occupational & industrial medicine
  • public health
  • rehabilitation medicine

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