Vulnerability at work

“Vulnerable” is a word often used in the health and safety world to describe those who are at an increased risk of work injury or disease. But who is vulnerable, and why. Understanding “vulnerability” due to personal, workplace and labour market factors remains a key research theme of the Institute for Work & Health (IWH). This research looks at rates of vulnerability and measures to identify, assess and prevent it. It also looks at workplace, system and government programs and policies to address vulnerability.

Latest news and findings

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.  

Read about the initiative
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.  

Watch the first of the six videos
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.

Read about the findings
A group of people around a table, brainstorming

IWH Speaker Series: What the future of work looks like to young people with disabilities

What do young adults with disabilities think about when they weigh their job options and consider their career goals in the future of work? In an IWH Speaker Series presentation on December 14, Institute Scientist Dr. Arif Jetha shares findings from his study on this question. He also discusses the supports young adults with disabilities need to face the challenges of a changing labour market and take advantage of its potential opportunities.

Sign up for webinar
female factory worker sitting on floor with tools, looking worried about what to do

Weaker OHS procedures, policies explain small employers’ higher injury risks: study

Workers at small firms say they are more frequently exposed to hazards and report more work-related injuries and illnesses than workers at large firms. But an Institute for Work & Health study finds the injury risks in large and small firms even out when weaker occupational health and safety policies at small firms are taken into account.

Read about the study