Monthly news and research findings from the Institute for Work & Health

IWH News

October 2018

SSHRC/CIHR partnership grant funds research into accommodating workers with chronic conditions

Health conditions such as depression, Crohn’s disease and HIV have at least one thing in common. People living with these conditions can be in good health for long periods of time and then experience debilitating symptoms for bouts of unpredictable duration. For working people with these conditions, and for their managers, the recurring and hard-to-predict symptoms can make asking for, and providing, accommodation a challenge. Now, thanks to the Healthy and Productive Work Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), a team led by Institute for Work & Health (IWH)’s Dr. Monique Gignac aims to develop resources to help make conversations around accommodation easier. The team and participating partners launched the project in Toronto last month.

Read about the study

What do Ontario employers spend on OHS? Find out in new IWH policy briefing

Quick question: What does your workplace spend per head every year to keep employees safe from work-related injuries and illnesses? For bonus points: If you know the amount, how does it compare with those of others in your industry in Ontario? As it turns out, when an IWH team started asking these questions in a research project, the answers were hard to find. Now, employer spending on occupational health and safety (OHS) is tallied for 17 economic sectors in Ontario—all in our latest Issue Briefing.

Read the Issue Briefing

Supervisor reactions to work-related injury can affect return-to-work outcomes

When a worker gets injured, does the supervisor react with blame and skepticism or with empathy and support? According to a study by IWH’s Dr. Arif Jetha, how a supervisor reacts to an injury can make a difference to the worker’s return-to-work (RTW) outcomes.

Read the article

Use our evidence-based resources to help you mark Global Ergonomics Month

October is Global Ergonomics Month—a time to raise awareness about work-related musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) prevention. We have a lot of free resources to help workplaces in that effort. Read the plain-language findings from a systematic review on workplace interventions to help prevent MSDs—and share our one-minute video summarizing key findings. Offer free training on workstation ergonomics with our evidence-based eOfficeErgo. And find inspiration in the story of a workplace that substantially lowered MSDs through a sustained participatory ergonomics initiative. Also, check out a listing of MSD prevention events offered by Ontario’s system partners throughout the month.

See the events listing

Help us get this survey to young millennials with rheumatic disease

Despite advances in clinical care, millennial young adults with rheumatic disease continue to face challenges finding work and staying productive at work. Workplace policies can help overcome these challenges, but too often they’re aimed at older adults. An IWH study is currently under way to understand what supports millennials with rheumatic disease need from employers. This survey is a first step. Please help us get it into the hands of young workers with lupus, juvenile arthritis, scleroderma and other forms of rheumatic disease.

Go to the survey

Nachemson lecture to examine challenges and what’s next in occupational disease prevention

In high-income countries, work-related exposures are understood to be responsible for 15 per cent to 20 per cent of all lung cancers, 15 per cent of asthma cases, and varying proportions of many other diseases. This burden will persist if we don’t pay attention to occupational disease prevention, according to Dr. Paul Demers, who will deliver the 2018 Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture on November 28 in downtown Toronto. Demers, director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre, will discuss research challenges in this area and highlight future opportunities to move forward on the occupational disease prevention agenda in the decade ahead.

Register for free

Comparing intervention designs and approaches: IWH Speaker Series presentations

Choices, choices, choices. Choosing between different prevention intervention methods and approaches is the theme of two IWH Speaker Series presentations this season. On November 6, Dr. Emile Tompa compares the use of respirators and the wet method for reducing exposure to silica dust among construction workers. And last month, Dr. Bill Shaw of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine discussed issues in the design of interventions to prevent work disability through three case studies. That presentation is now available as a slidecast. Find out more on our Events page.

Go to the IWH Events page

New MSD Prevention Guideline for Ontario now available from CRE-MSD

The Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD) unveiled the new MSD Prevention Guideline for Ontario last week to kick off Global Ergonomics Month. The new Guideline and its resources provide easy-to-use and scalable toolsets for organizations of all sectors and sizes. They’re designed to help workplaces effectively prevent workplace injuries and improve their productivity, performance and service quality. “MSDs are preventable and the hazards can be mitigated,” said CRE-MSD Director Jack Callaghan at the launch conference. “Yet musculoskeletal disorders continue to account for more than one-third of all lost-time workplace injuries in Ontario.” If you missed the conference, register now for one of the three upcoming webinars on the new guideline taking place through December.

See the new MSD Prevention Guideline for Ontario

For more information, please contact

Cindy Moser
Communications Manager
416-927-2027, ext. 2183

Uyen Vu
Communications Associate

IWH News is distributed monthly by the Institute for Work & Health, an independent, not-for-profit organization that conducts and shares research to protect and improve the health and safety of working people.

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