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Safety researchers look into stressful work conditions

Kentucky employees who work long hours or has insufficient support from their supervisors may be more likely to be injured on the job. The link between stressful work conditions and work-related injuries is one of the main focuses of the Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The organization focuses on researching workplace injuries and implementing strategies for reducing workplace injuries. It is supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as a component of the Total Worker Health initiative. A five-year grant for $6.5 million was extended to the center in September.

While NIOSH's main focus is usually research into specific kinds of occupational injuries and illnesses, the TWH initiative is an effort to look into how workplace policies and programs affect overall safety and health. Conditions that increase workers' likelihood of depression are believed to be a contributing factor in many workplace accidents. The Center at Harvard Chan School conducts research and helps companies to implement policies that may improve work conditions. For example, an initiative to implement mobilization devices for patient handling at Brigham and Women's Hospital was partially coordinated by the school's researchers.

Understaffing is one example of a stressful work condition that may lead to injuries. Most people who are injured on the job are eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits, which can include the furnishing of necessary medical care as well as partial wage replacement. As the process is subject to strict deadlines, the assistance of an attorney can be useful in ensuring that the claim is complete and filed on a timely basis.

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