Working conditions and health

What are the effects of work, workplace and labour force conditions on the health and safety of workers and other members of society? Institute for Work & Health (IWH) research in this area seeks to understand the context in which government, sector-based and workplace injury and disability prevention programs operate. This research explores known and emerging injuries, diseases and disorders that are related to job, workplace and/or labour market conditions. It looks at the scope, potential causes and risk factors for these injuries and illnesses, as well as their effect on workers, workplaces, regulators and society as a whole.

Latest news and findings

Paper cutouts of faces in profile

Inequalities growing in Canada in rates of early death

Although early death rates have fallen for nearly all socioeconomic groups in Canada, they're falling faster for some more than others. A new study by Dr. Faraz Vahid Shahidi, IWH Mustard post-doctoral fellow, finds inequalities in premature mortality have widened over 25 years between people with the highest and lowest income and education levels. 

Read about the study
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 man kneels as he works with decking boards on a patio

Review summary explores relationship between work and osteoarthritis

Bending, kneeling, climbing or lifting. Which of these work activities, among others, are associated with a greater risk of osteoarthritis (OA) in men and women? A systematic review conducted by IWH—the first to include a wide range of joints affected by OA—are now summarized in our latest Sharing Best Evidence

Read the summary
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 close-up of a man's hand, holding a joint

What has changed in the use of cannabis since legalization?

How much has changed in workers’ consumption patterns since recreational cannabis was legalized in October 2018? Early findings from an ongoing IWH study indicate use at work has stayed the same—with one in 12 workers reporting using cannabis at work, during work breaks or two hours before work.

Read about the findings