What's new

Police sirens at night

IWH Speaker Series webinar explores return-to-work challenges in policing

What challenges do members of police services face after a work injury? In an IWH Speaker Series on October 18, IWH Scientist Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd shares findings from a recent study on return to work in Ontario police services. He also highlights suggestions that emerged from the data on ways to improve the return-to-work process.

An older female worker ponders decision while sitting in waiting room

Webinar now available: Supporting older workers to stay at work

Many older workers don't want to retire, but they may have support needs they don't want to disclose. How do employers provide these workers support and help them stay on the job? On September 20, at the first IWH Speaker Series webinar of the season, Senior Scientist Dr. Monique Gignac shared insights from a recent study. The webinar is now available to watch on-demand.

A visually impaired businesswoman uses smartphone and earphones during a business meeting

New initiative aims to ‘skill up’ employers on inclusion of persons with disabilities

Efforts to date to improve the employment of persons with disabilities have focused on making them job-ready. A new initiative, a joint project at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and McMaster University, now sets out to flip that approach on its head. It aims to “skill up” workplaces instead.  

Screen grab of the video displays the title, "Challenge 1: Impact of advanced digital technologies"

Join study on future challenges for young workers with disabilities

An ongoing study at the Institute for Work & Health identified six key challenges that young people with disabilities are expected to face in the future of work. In a series of short videos, we describe six major trends that are expected to shape employment for vulnerable workers over the next 10 years—and the program or policies that have the potential to protect these workers. Watch the first video and take part in the study.  

Cover image of At Work 109 (Summer 2022)

At Work Summer 2022 is out!

The Summer 2022 issue of At Work is out. If you did not get it in your inbox, make sure to subscribe. 

A Newton's cradle, made up of crumpled paper in different colours, drawn to look like lightbulbs

IWH model influences other research orgs’ approach to measuring impact

Research organizations in the field of work and health share a common challenge: how to assess the difference they make. IWH’s Research Impact Model was developed in 2010 to guide Institute thinking about, and documentation of, its impact. The model has resonated with other organizations around the world doing similar research. As told in a new impact case study, summarized here, the model has made a difference in how several research institutes assess the impact of their work and shape their knowledge transfer and exchange strategies.

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A young worker at her computer workstation holds her shoulder and neck in pain

Study examines links between job conditions and rheumatic disease symptoms

Can work and labour market conditions be linked to worsened rheumatic symptoms in young adults with the disease? Most studies aimed at removing work barriers for young people with rheumatic diseases have focused on clinical care—not on adapting working conditions. An IWH study examined how job security and work limitations are linked with pain, fatigue and other rheumatic disease symptoms.

A woman takes notes at a desk while attending a videoconference on the computer monitor

How does real-time online training compare with face-to-face formats?

When much of work-related training went virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic, providers of occupational health and safety training naturally began asking questions about the effectiveness of online real-time formats. In a recent study, a research team at the Institute for Work & Health reviewed the research literature to date. So how does synchronous or real-time online learning compare with face-to-face methods? A new plain-language summary outlines the evidence.

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Call for new Board members closes August 12

Don't miss this opportunity to play a part in the governance of the Institute for Work & Health. The Institute's Board of Directors is looking for new members. Please help us spread the word by forwarding this call for members to qualified individuals. Submissions are accepted until Friday, August 12.

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Grant round-up: Exploring the impact of AI, recovery and work after COVID, and more

Upcoming research at IWH is tackling important work and health issues, from COVID-19 return-to-work and recovery outcomes to the impact of artificial intelligence on worker inequities. The latest Grant Round-up article offers a snapshot of new research being undertaken at the Institute, thanks to external grant awards.

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Blurred figures of workers walking

How daily movement patterns are linked to heart health of workers

How much physical activity do Canadian workers actually do in a day, and when? And what patterns of movement are associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease? An Institute for Work & Health (IWH) study drew on activity tracker data to answer these questions. It found that people who were sedentary—i.e. who did little physical activity throughout the day—had the highest risk of heart disease compared to most other groups. No surprise there. What is surprising, however, was how their heart health risk compared with those who did vigorous, tiring work all day.

Black silhouettes of two women in dialogue, with colourful speech bubbles above them

Return-to-work communication: workplace stakeholders share their strategies

Communication is central to disability management, especially in large and complex organizations where communication challenges can be exacerbated by the involvement of multiple parties and inconsistent practices. An IWH research team set out to better understand the strategies used by workplace stakeholders to effectively communicate return-to-work (RTW) issues. Their insights are now summed up in the latest Research Highlights.

A man and a woman work together to push a trolley through a warehouse

New review sums up sex/gender differences in work injury and illness outcomes

Men and women may be part of the labour force in roughly equal proportions. But many jobs and industries are still dominated by one sex/gender or another. In that light, a new systematic review at IWH looks at how work exposures and injury/illness outcomes are different for men and women.

13 colourful cardboards, each with a question mark cut-out in the middle, overlap each other in a pile

Widely used survey unable to isolate specific psychosocial work dimensions

Guarding Minds @ Work is a widely used survey designed to measure 13 psychosocial dimensions of the work environment that have the potential to affect worker mental health. However, a joint study by the Institute for Work & Health and Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers finds the survey unable to measure each of the 13 dimensions in isolation. This has implications for workplaces that use the measure to assess how well they are doing on specific psychosocial dimensions, such as workforce civility and respect, workload management and more, says the research team.

Wooden block letters spelling out R O I, with colourful arrows pointing to them

New policy briefing: estimating the ROI of OHS spending

What’s the return-on-investment (ROI) for every dollar employers spend on occupational health and safety? A team at IWH has come up with an estimate for three Ontario sectors—manufacturing, construction and transportation—based on previous research and on Workplace Safety and Insurance Board data.

Cover image of At Work 108 (Spring 2022)

The Spring issue of At Work is out!

In this issue:  

Higher injury risk linked to cannabis use at or before work, but not to cannabis use off-work

How government funding can best support the employment of persons with disabilities

Widely used survey lacks ability to distinctly measure the 13 factors of the psychosocial work environment

And more....

Closeup of hands around documents and a laptop in a business meeting

What research can do: IWH input contributes to enhancement of WSIB’s Health and Safety Index

When Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board reviewed its Health and Safety Index, an indicator of the health and safety of Ontario’s workplaces, IWH researchers provided advice on index methodology. This column summarizes how enhancements to the index incorporated that advice.

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Four icons depicting a head, a heart, a group of people and buildings

IWH team wins inclusive design competition for job accommodation and support tool

A team led by Institute for Work & Health (IWH) Senior Scientist Dr. Monique Gignac has been announced first place winner in a competition called Inclusive Design Challenge: Support at Work. The competition, the second of the MaRS Innovation Challenges series and co-sponsored by CIBC, is aimed at finding solutions that improve support at work for persons with disabilities. 

The ACED project team (short for Accommodating and Communicating about Episodic Disabilities) won the competition for its Job Demands and Accommodation Planning Tool. It's designed to help people think about the workplace supports they need when they live with a chronic health condition that can cause challenges. Recruiting is underway to test the tool. 

A poster with five scenes from the handout. The title reads: "5 things we think you should know."

5 things we think you should know in 2022

Five practical messages you can take away from IWH research over the past year. That’s the idea behind our annual handout, 5 Things We Think You Should Know, created especially for occupational health and safety practitioners and stakeholders. Find out what the 2022 messages are.

Colourful gears and various icons depict multiple connections within a system

IWH now hiring for Director, Strategic Relations

The Institute is looking for a Director, Strategic Relations. This individual will work with IWH’s executive team to amplify the Institute’s provincial, national and international presence, broaden research audiences, and promote diversity among research and stakeholder groups. The individual will also identify opportunities for IWH expertise to contribute to the development of policies, programs and resources at the provincial and federal levels—and particularly within Ontario’s prevention system.

A young woman looks at her phone in frustration and exasperation

Poor interaction with case managers raises risk of distress, Ontario study finds

Injured workers who report having poor interactions with case managers during the workers’ compensation claims process face a higher risk of developing serious or elevated psychological distress later on. That’s according to a recent IWH study that followed a group of Ontario claimants 18 months after their injury.

Excellence written on road way

WSIB Health & Safety Excellence Program makes use of IWH safety culture measure

A version of the IWH-Organizational Performance Metric (IWH-OPM) is used by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to let workplaces in its Health and Safety Excellence Program measure their safety culture against a benchmark. The measure also allows the compensation agency to track trends in safety culture over time among participating organizations.

A long-term care worker pushes a resident in a wheelchair down the hall

Participatory ergonomics a sustainable OHS approach in long-term care

Frontline workers know better than anyone what musculoskeletal (MSD) hazards they encounter on the job—and how to solve them. Participatory ergonomics is an occupational health and safety (OHS) approach that puts worker involvement front and centre. An IWH study led by Scientist Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd found this approach can be successfully implemented and sustained—even in busy long-term care facilities challenged by staff shortages and high turnover.

A blurry image of a hospital waiting room

IWH links ER and workers’ comp claims data, finds important patterns in under-reporting

Over a third of work-related injuries and illnesses treated in Ontario hospital emergency rooms (ERs) don’t get reported as Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) claims. That’s according to a recent Institute for Work & Health (IWH) data linkage study that found notable patterns in work-related injury reporting and under-reporting—including a change in reporting levels following the 2008/09 global financial crisis.

A doctor speaks to a patient, who's out of frame

Registration now open for Spring 2022 session of Project ECHO OEM

Are you an Ontario primary health-care provider who treats or supports patients with injuries and illnesses that affect their ability to work? Project ECHO OEM is a telementoring program on occupational and environmental medicine set up just for you. Learn about best practices to better support patients in recovery and return to work or stay at work. Sessions are held via videoconference each Friday from April 22 to July 15, 2022. Registration is ongoing.

Four icons depicting a head, a heart, a group of people and buildings

Participants needed to pilot-test a work support and accommodation planning tool

A research team at the Institute has developed a workplace support and accommodation planning tool for workers living with a chronic, episodic health condition. It’s designed to help workers think about the self-management strategies and workplace supports they need. The Job Demands and Accommodation Planning Tool is now ready to be pilot-tested in an evaluation study. If you work in Canada and are looking for support in managing your chronic, episodic health condition, you can help the team test the tool.