Led by Selkirk College researcher Delia Roberts, a project aimed at developing an injury prevention program for ski area workers in western Canada has been highlighted in the WorkSafe BC Policy & Research Division e-Newsletter Insight, for November.
When complete, the study will provide a greater understanding of the relationship between work-related injuries and traits such as body movement patterns, blood sugar (glucose), reaction time, focus, and workload for on-snow ski area workers.
“We studied lift operators, instructors, and patrollers at five ski areas in British Columbia and Alberta to evaluate the physiological loads during work, basic movement strategies, dietary and hydration habits,” Delia Roberts explains.
“We also monitored blood glucose levels and simple and complex reaction times.” By analyzing the data they have collected, the research team will gain a better understanding of the conditions that lead to common and debilitating types of injuries seen in on-snow ski area employees, including injuries caused by being struck by or colliding with something, as well as strains and falls.
The researchers are using established methods developed by sports scientists to identify the specific factors that contribute to injuries in ski area employees, including poor control of joints, loss of concentration and attention, and slowing of reflex action. The goal of the project is to determine whether implementing a prevention program that includes diet and exercises - specially designed to address weaknesses in these areas - can lead to a decrease in injury rates for these workers.