Research Highlights

Research Highlights is an easy-to-read, lay-audience summary of a study led by a scientist from the Institute for Work & Health (or includes an Institute scientist on its research team) that has been published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal. Each research summary explains why the study was done, how it was done, what the researchers found and the implications of the study, where applicable. 
Close-up of two pairs of hands, belong to a counsellor and a patient sitting on a couch

Access to mental health treatment among workers with physical injuries

Among workers with a compensation claim for a work-related musculoskeletal injury, 30 per cent also experience a serious mental condition. However, a minority of these workers receive treatment for their mental health conditions, according to an IWH study conducted in Australia.
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A young man behind the wheel of a car checks his smartphone

Exploring the health and safety risks facing ride-share drivers

Ride-share drivers face physical and mental health risks that are not only similar to, but also distinct from, those of taxi drivers. Beyond the risks experienced by taxi drivers, ride-share drivers face stressors unique to this form of work.
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A tangled telephone cord

Examining communication and collaboration barriers among health and case management professionals

Communication barriers between health-care providers and case managers appear to stem from differences in communication styles, professional priorities and philosophical perspectives about the timing and appropriateness of return to work. Barriers exist even among practitioners of different health disciplines.
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Two workers at a window shutters manufacturing shop floor

Comparing the retirement expectations of older workers with and without chronic conditions

Workers with arthritis and diabetes, despite their health difficulties, have similar retirement plans as their healthy peers. Yet workers with chronic conditions are more likely than their healthy peers to report having retired previously and returned to work, often in part-time positions.
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Top-down view of a desk with a clipboard and a report

How do OHS leaders use health and safety benchmarking?

Workplace health and safety leaders use benchmarking reports on health and safety performance to help inform decision-making and improve occupational health and safety performance. That's according to an interview-based study of OHS leaders who took part in an IWH leading indicators research project.
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A group of office workers stand in rows, doing stretches

Understanding the types of Ontario workplaces that offer both wellness and OHS programs

Most Ontario workplaces offer few wellness initiatives. The ones that offer a variety of wellness initiatives and have high-performing OHS programs tend to be large workplaces with people-oriented cultures.
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A close-up of scattered cigarettes

Examining the link between working conditions and tobacco-smoking habits

People who work or have worked in physically demanding jobs are about twice as likely as people whose jobs are not physically demanding to be heavy smokers. Workers in jobs with low social support, low skill discretion and high psychological demands are also more likely than workers in healthier environments to be heavy smokers.
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A silhouette of two palms held upward, cupping the sun

Psychosocial work conditions and mental health

Having positive mental health is not the same as having no mental illness. The two are related, but distinct, concepts. A study by IWH suggests that better psychosocial work conditions—greater job security, job control and social support—can have greater influence on one more than the other.
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A professional woman pushes an older person in a wheelchair in the outdoors

Gender differences in the impact of eldercare on work

Women are much more likely than men to stop working, to work part time and to temporarily take time off work in order to care for an older relative. These differences are seen even after taking into account factors such as marital status, having children, hours of work, pay level, job tenure, and status as main wage earner in the household.
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Man in red shirt jogs in a park adjacent to an office building

Facilities near or at work and off-hours exercise levels

Three in four working Canadians have access near or at their work to a gym, a sports field, a pleasant place to walk, a fitness program, an organized sports team, a health promotion program or a shower/change room. Leisure-time exercise levels are highest for workers with access to all the above. They are twice as likely to exercise in their off-hours as workers with access to none of these.
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Three mature women look at camera

OHS vulnerability among new immigrants

Recent immigrant workers are 1.6 times more likely than Canadian-born workers to experience occupational health and safety (OHS) vulnerability, defined as exposure to hazards without adequate protection to mitigate those hazards.
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A young woman rests her head in her palm, eyes closed

How workplace support needs differ for younger and older adults with chronic disease

When it comes to workplace supports, people with chronic disease have similar needs, even at different ages and career stages. However, young people face unique challenges related to accessing workplace supports, including a lack of available workplace resources and difficulty overcoming preconceptions around youth and chronic conditions.
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A black and white image of a rope fraying

Gender differences in the link between psychosocial work exposures and stress

Women’s and men's stress levels are affected differently by psychosocial work exposures such as supervisor or co-worker support, job control, job demand and job insecurity.
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Two female servers at a restaurant bar

Prolonged standing on the job associated with higher risk of heart disease than prolonged sitting

Workers who predominantly stand on the job are at greater risk of heart disease than workers who predominantly sit. Workplace prevention efforts should target excessive standing, as well as excessive sitting, to protect the cardiovascular health of workers.
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A woman with disability works in a bakery

Workers with disabilities report greater OHS vulnerability

Workers with disabilities are more likely to be exposed to hazards at work than other workers, and are more likely to experience vulnerability due to inadequate measures to mitigate those hazards.
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Silhouettes of a man and a woman looking straight ahead

Role of chronic conditions and physical job demands on differences in work activity limitations between women and men

The differing levels of work activity limitations among women and men are explained by the different chronic conditions they are likely to have and the different physical demands they are likely to face on the job.
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Three workers talking in a shipyard

Workplaces that focus on both operations and safety can succeed at both

Workplaces that jointly manage operations and occupational health and safety (OHS) perform well at both, and no worse than workplaces that focus on only one. There’s no evidence that success in operations requires a trade-off with safety.
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Older worker cuts wood

Are older workers off work longer after an injury because of the nature of their injuries?

Older men and women with work-related injuries remain off work on benefits longer than other workers, and this longer time off work is not explained by the type or severity of their injuries.
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A downcast nurse in a dark hallway looks to an exit

Pain and long-term absences among Canadian nurses with MSIs

Two important factors associated with how long Canadian female nurses stay off of work due to musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) are the level of pain and the extent to which pain interferes with job duties.
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Two friendly colleagues sit on stairs, chatting

The role of co-workers in return to work

Return-to-work (RTW) models and policies can be improved by taking into account social relations within a work unit, especially the role of co-workers.
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