Developing a framework for understanding and measuring OHS vulnerability

Reasons for the study

In the area of occupational health and safety (OHS), vulnerability can be defined as an increased risk of experiencing a work-related injury or illness compared to a given standard. Often individuals in the labour market—e.g. young workers, new workers, immigrants or visible minorities—are labelled as vulnerable. Yet, this categorization does not identify the specific characteristics that place these workers at higher risk of experiencing a work-related injury. The purpose of this study was to build on a conceptual framework of OHS vulnerability by generating a set of domains, and pool of potential items within each domain, to form a feasible measure of OHS vulnerability.

Objectives of the study

  • To develop a measure of OHS vulnerability among labour market participants that moves beyond demographic worker characteristics towards factors that are closer to risk of injury or illness at the level of the workplace
  • To develop and refine a measure of OHS vulnerability to be used for public health surveillance purposes

Related scientific publications

Related interviews and articles

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Project status

Completed 2016

Research team

  • Peter Smith, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Curtis Breslin, Institute for Work & Health
  • Basak Yanar, Institute for Work & Health
  • Morgan Lay, Institute for Work & Health
  • Marni Lifshen, Institute for Work & Health
  • Ron Saunders, Institute for Work & Health
  • Emile Tompa, Institute for Work & Health
  • Anthony LaMontagne, Deakin University

Participating organizations

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
Public Services Health and Safety Association

Funded by

Canadian Institutes of Health Research