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

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
A group of people around a table, brainstorming

Help design ways to support the future employment of young people with disabilities

Are you a young person living with a disabling health condition? Do you have direct experience supporting young people with disabilities? Or do you have expertise in policy, labour markets, disability and employment or strategic foresight?

If you answer yes to any of the above, we invite you to take part in an online activity aimed at designing better future work supports for young people with disabilities. For more information about this study, please contact Kay Nasir by emailing knasir@iwh.on.ca.

Find out more
Drawing of a young man falling backwards as he stands astride a widening crack in the floor.

Nine trends in the future of work that may impact vulnerable workers

In the next two decades, the world of work will look very different than it does today. Major forces are driving change: digital technologies, artificial intelligence, climate change, demographic shifts, and more. What does the future hold for people who already face barriers in the labour market? In a new project report, an IWH team led by Scientist Dr. Arif Jetha lays out nine trends and what they may mean. A summary of the report is also available in At Work. 

Read the full report
A woman works at a laundry service

Age, tenure raise risk of job precarity among workers with disabilities

Which groups of workers are at greater risk of working in precarious jobs? According to a new IWH study, among people with disabilities, older workers and workers with less tenure worker are those with higher risks.  

Read about the study
Illustration taken from the tool

Working with a rheumatic disease: a new tool for young people

Young people with rheumatic health conditions such as juvenile arthritis or lupus face unique challenges as they begin their working lives. A new tool is now available to help them navigate these challenges. "Working with a rheumatic disease" is an interactive tool designed to help young people identify potential challenges and find information and trusted resources to overcome them. It was developed by the Institute for Work & Health with support from Cassie + Friends and funding from the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy.

See the tool