Our team works with diverse partners, across multiple disciplines and settings, and using a range of research methods. We design, conduct and translate research that has real-world impact. Our research program encompasses three main themes of prevention, recovery and systems. In each of these areas we lead and participate in local, national and international research projects, provide expert advice and consultancy services, and deliver bespoke education and training. Underpinning our approach is the belief that good work is good for health, and that good health is good for work.
Annually, nearly 3 million people die from work-related causes, and an estimated 328 million life years are lost to work-related disability. Our prevention theme aims to reduce death and disability arising from work. This has potential to dramatically improve individual, community and population health. Our projects in prevention include developing new methods of identifying risk of injury or illness at work, generating new knowledge of the causes of work-related injury and illness, and developing programs to reduce the chances of injury or illness in working age people.
Returning to work after illness or injury improves health and supports recovery. Our recovery theme aims to improve return to work among injured and ill workers, and to support more effective rehabilitation and better care delivery. We recognise that effective recovery often requires action across workplace, worker, health and insurance systems. Our projects in this theme included developing new systems of monitoring the nature and quality of healthcare, developing and trialling insurance case management models, and developing evidence to help employers support worker recovery.
There is strong evidence globally that systems of support such as workers’ compensation and social security can be both helpful and harmful to working age people. Some people find system processes stressful and this can hinder their recovery or exacerbate their health conditions. Changes to system policies can have a major impact on who can access support, and the type and effectiveness of those supports. Projects in our systems theme aim to identify system settings and processes that impede health, and develop new understanding of the impact of system policy changes on the health of working age people.