Small business OHS expert to deliver this year's Nachemson lecture

November 20, 2009 (Toronto, ON) — Dr. Joan Eakin, an expert on occupational health and safety (OHS) in small workplaces, will deliver this year’s Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture. The lecture is sponsored by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and takes place on Wednesday, November 25 in Toronto.

A professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and director of the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research at the University of Toronto, Eakin has devoted much of her research career to understanding how working conditions and health-related practices in small firms are shaped by their distinct features and social relations of work. She has also explored the institutional services and regulatory/policy structures that govern them.

This is important research. The majority of workers in Canada and internationally are employed in small and medium-sized enterprises, and protecting the health and safety of these workers continues to pose unresolved challenges to our OHS systems.

Drawing on a series of studies that have included workers, employers, health-care professionals and compensation service providers, Eakin will challenge some of the prevailing assumptions and approaches to prevention, return to work and service provision to the small-business sector, and suggest how they might be reframed. She will conclude with recent examples of how findings from this research have been taken up by the injured worker community and by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Eakin’s lecture, titled “No small matter: Unpacking the problem of health and safety in small workplaces,” is free. It takes place on Wednesday, November 25, beginning at 5.30 p.m. It is being held on the second floor of the Design Exchange, 234 Bay St., in Toronto.

The Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture was established in 2002 by IWH to honour Dr. Nachemson’s significant contribution to advancing the use of research evidence in clinical decision-making. For more information, visit:

About the Institute for Work & Health

IWH is an independent, not-for-profit research organization that aims to protect and improve the health of working people. Recognized as one of the top five occupational health and safety research centres in the world, the Institute provides practical and relevant findings on the prevention of work injury and disability to policy-makers, workers, employers, clinicians, and health, safety and disability management professionals.

Media contacts

Cindy Moser 
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Institute for Work & Health
416-927-2027, ext. 2183

Uyen Vu
Communications Associate
Institute for Work & Health