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

Implementing participatory ergonomics in the long-term care sector

It can be challenging to tackle long-standing musculoskeletal hazards in busy, high turnover settings such as long-term care homes. Despite this, an IWH study finds a participatory approach—one that involves frontline workers—can be successfully implemented and sustained.
A woman smiles sympathetically at a colleague in an office

Workers’ and managers’ perspectives on workplace supports for depression

In a survey of workers with depression and those who manage them, nearly one out of four said no supports were available. Asked about the most helpful type of support, survey respondents with lived experience of depression most often indicated employee assistance programs (EAPs) and other supports external to the workplace. As for barriers to implementing practices, participants noted unsupportive managers, lack of knowledge about mental health in the workplace, and lack of training for managers.
People with various disabilities at the office

The economic benefits of a fully accessible and inclusive Canada

If Canada were a fully accessible and inclusive society, the economic benefits would amount to about $337.7 billion in calendar year 2017. This amount is equal to about 17.6 per cent of the gross domestic product in that year.
The back of a male worker, hauling a load in a warehouse setting

Examining the link between leisure-time exercise and physically demanding work on diabetes risk

Workers in sedentary jobs who meet physical activity guidelines of at least 150 minutes a week have a 37 per cent lower chance of developing diabetes over 15 years, compared to people in the same types of jobs but who do less exercise. Meeting physical activity guidelines is less beneficial for people whose jobs involve movement or high physical demands (such as lifting heavy loads).
A woman works at a laundry service

Is precarious work more prevalent for people with disabilities? The role of age and job tenure

Workers with disabilities are no more likely than those without to work in precarious jobs. However, some subsets of people with disabilities are more likely to work in precarious jobs—older people or people with shorter job tenure. Contrary to expectation, younger people with disabilities are not more likely than older people with disabilities to have precarious jobs. Among people with and without disabilities, having better health is linked to a lower likelihood of working in precarious jobs.
Monochrome splatter painting of a woman in distress

Depression and work among adults with arthritis

About 13 per cent of working-age people in the U.S. who have arthritis also experience depressive symptoms. Having both arthritis and depressive symptoms lowers the likelihood of working. For people aged 35 to 54, having depressive symptoms in addition to arthritis lowers the likelihood of working by 17 per cent.
A lone roofing worker sits perched on top of a new being built

Evaluating the effectiveness of mandatory working-at-heights training standards

The introduction of a mandatory training standard for construction workers using fall protection equipment is associated with a 19.6 per cent reduction in the incidence rate of lost-time claims due to falls targeted by the intervention. This decline is larger than an overall decline in injuries in the sector during the same time frame. Reductions in incidence rates are also largest among the smallest employers.
A blurry image of people at work

Employer perspectives on communication challenges when supporting episodic disabilities

Supporting people with episodic health conditions can be challenging from organizational perspectives. The challenges stem from the need to provide accommodation and support while respecting workers’ right to privacy, and to respond to unpredictable periods of disability while ensuring work units meet productivity demands.
A vista of a small town in British Columbia

Urban-rural differences in work disability duration

People who live in more remote areas have more disability days following a work-related injury than people who live in large cities. However, there are exceptions to that pattern. Disability days are highest in the most remote rural areas. But they're second highest in the least remote rural areas, where at least 30 per cent of workers commute to an urban centre.
Close-up of a faceless jogger, lacing up her running shoes

Physical activity levels and work factors over 12 years

Over a 12-year-period, Canadians whose jobs became more physically or mentally demanding became slightly less likely to exercise more. They were also slightly less likely to exercise more when working long hours or working in jobs that offered them little say in how to use their skills.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.