The term "vulnerability" is used increasingly in occupational health and safety (OHS) in Ontario. Although certain groups in the labour market (e.g. younger workers, temporary workers or immigrants) are often labelled as “vulnerable workers,” there is very little discussion about what the broader workplace and occupational factors are that lead to increased risk of injury among these groups, and whether these risk factors are similar across the groups. In this plenary, Dr. Peter Smith, a scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, provides an overview of the conceptual framework of OHS vulnerability. He also shares preliminary findings from a survey capturing different dimensions of OHS vulnerability across a sample of workers in Ontario and British Columbia.
Note: Since this plenary, Smith's study on the development of the questionnaire has been published in the September 2015 edition of the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention (Vol. 82, pp. 234-243: doi:10.1016/j.aap.2015.06.004). The open-access paper is available to all to read, and offers a link to a shorter slidecast summarizing his work on the development of the measure.