Vulnerability at work

“Vulnerable” is a word often used in the health and safety world to describe those who are at an increased risk of work injury or disease. But who is vulnerable, and why. Understanding “vulnerability” due to personal, workplace and labour market factors remains a key research theme of the Institute for Work & Health (IWH). This research looks at rates of vulnerability and measures to identify, assess and prevent it. It also looks at workplace, system and government programs and policies to address vulnerability.

Latest news and findings

Logo for World Congress COVID-19 and occupational safety and health digital meeting in October 2020

World Congress 2021 hosting free ‘COVID-19 and OSH’ virtual session in early October

Registraion is now open. On October 5, 2020, a half-day special session on COVID-19 and occupational safety and health (OSH) is being offered by the organizers of the 2021 World Congress on Safety and Health at Work—and IWH is among them as a national co-host of the global event. This free, virtual session will feature thought-leaders discussing innovations in addressing COVID-19 in the workplace, how the future of work is being shaped by the global pandemic, and the relevance of promoting a culture of prevention to address COVID-19. Additional sessions are also being organized for October 6, 2020.

Register now
A woman with a bandaged left arm fills out injury claim form

Exposure to known hazards a factor in injury reporting: Institute study

What factors may be linked to workers reporting or not reporting their work-related injuries to a workers’ compensation board? An Institute for Work & Health (IWH) study, building upon previous research on rates of under-reporting, finds workers are more likely to report their injuries when they are exposed to known hazards or have greater awareness about occupational health and safety.

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A roomful of people listen intently to workshop presenter

Supporting settlement agencies to provide OHS information to newcomers

Newcomers to Canada face a higher risk of workplace injury and illness. That’s due in part to a lack of knowledge about their occupational health and safety (OHS) rights and responsibilities. Settlement agencies can help raise this awareness, but they also need support from the prevention system to do so. That’s according to a recent project involving IWH and several partner organizations.

Read about the project
Logo for World Congress on Safety and Health at Work 2021

XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work now taking place in September 2021

In light of public health guidance regarding COVID-19, the International Organizing Committee (IOC) of the XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work has made the difficult decision to postpone the event, which will now take place September 19 – 22, 2021. The good news is that the Congress will still take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada, exploring the Congress theme Prevention in the Connected Age: Global solutions to achieve safe and healthy work for all. The Congress is also being expanded to include virtual options, including live streaming to facilitate further global engagement.

Given the impact of COVID-19 on workplaces around the world, the IOC has also decided to convene a virtual meeting of global thought leaders focused on COVID-19 on October 5, 2020. More information about this meeting and how to participate will be posted to the Congress website in the coming weeks.

Go to the World Congress website to learn more
A paramedic wearing a face mask stands next to two ambulances

COVID-19 concerns greater for workers with health conditions

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many in Canada’s workforce worried about their health and finances. Those worries are even greater for workers living with an underlying and invisible chronic health condition. In the planning of health and safety responses to COVID-19 and the ultimate reopening of workplaces, employers should be aware of the unique needs of this potentially vulnerable group of workers, writes IWH Scientist Dr. Arif Jetha in The Conversation.

Find the link in IWH in the media