Recruitment for Occupational Research: Using Injured Workers as the Point of Entry into Workplaces

PLoS One. 2013 Jun 27;8(6):e68354. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068354. Print 2013.


Objective: To investigate the feasibility, costs and sample representativeness of a recruitment method that used workers with back injuries as the point of entry into diverse working environments.

Methods: Workers' compensation claims were used to randomly sample workers from five heavy industries and to recruit their employers for ergonomic assessments of the injured worker and up to 2 co-workers.

Results: The final study sample included 54 workers from the workers' compensation registry and 72 co-workers. This sample of 126 workers was based on an initial random sample of 822 workers with a compensation claim, or a ratio of 1 recruited worker to approximately 7 sampled workers. The average recruitment cost was CND$262/injured worker and CND$240/participating worksite including co-workers. The sample was representative of the heavy industry workforce, and was successful in recruiting the self-employed (8.2%), workers from small employers (<20 workers, 38.7%), and workers from diverse working environments (49 worksites, 29 worksite types, and 51 occupations).

Conclusions: The recruitment rate was low but the cost per participant reasonable and the sample representative of workers in small worksites. Small worksites represent a significant portion of the workforce but are typically underrepresented in occupational research despite having distinct working conditions, exposures and health risks worthy of investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Back Injuries* / economics
  • Back Injuries* / therapy
  • Canada
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Metallurgy
  • Occupations
  • Patient Selection*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Workplace