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 close-up of a hand placing down building blocks

Building capacity in the settlement service sector to promote OHS awareness among newcomers

Newcomers to Canada are at increased risk of workplace injury and illness, due in part to a lack of knowledge about their rights and responsibilities in occupational health and safety (OHS). IWH was recently involved in a project focused on supporting settlement agencies to promote OHS awareness among newcomers. In an upcoming IWH Speaker Series presentation, IWH's Dr. Basak Yanar joins Eduardo Huesca of Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) to talk about OHS capacity-building workshops for settlement agencies. They also discuss opportunities for Ontario’s OHS system partners to further support the settlement sector.

Sign up for the presentation
Sticky note clipped to a notebook reads "welcome aboard"

Link between “newness” and higher injury risk confirmed by systematic review

Workers new to a job, regardless of their age, face higher risks of injury. This workplace health and safety message is based on several studies—including some by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH)—and it has spread far and wide. However, it was only recently that a systematic review on newness and injury risk was carried out. The review, conducted by IWH, confirms a link between newness and the risk of acute injuries—but is inconclusive on the link between newness and the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

Read about the review
Close-up image of shattered glass window

Rates of workplace violence against women rising in Ontario’s education sector

Women working in Ontario’s education sector are four to six times more likely than their male counterparts to require time off work due to physical assaults on the job.This is according to a recent study from the Institute for Work & Health that looked at workplace violence rates among men and women across various sectors.

Read about the study in At Work
Photo of Joan Benach

International expert on work precarity and health inequity speaking in Toronto on April 11

Precarious employment is prevalent in low-income countries where as many as three in four workers are employed in the informal economy. Work precarity is also on the rise in high-income countries, where its effects are felt most by young workers, women, migrants and ethnic minorities. On April 11, Dr. Joan Benach, director of the Health Inequalities Research Group at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain, delivers the John R. Evans Lectureship in Global Health. The lecture, co-hosted by IWH, is free and open to the public.

Find out more and sign up

Ontario employers: tell us about your experience hiring newcomers

Employers play an important role in both hiring and subsequently providing safe work environments for recent immigrants. Researchers at the Institute for Work & Health want to understand the opportunities and challenges employers experience regarding work integration of newcomers, and their resource needs to help newcomers stay safe at work. We invite you to help by participating in a research study that examines the experiences and expectations of employers in relation to hiring and training recent immigrants and refugees in Ontario.

Find out more and sign up