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


Now hiring: Research analyst for one-year contract

We are seeking a research analyst for a 12-month, full-time contract to be part of a project examining the concept of occupational health and safety (OHS) vulnerability across provinces. Deadline for applications is Friday, October 5.

Learn more about the job

Boost OHS training outcomes with embedded essential skills content

Are you concerned that literacy or numeracy skills gaps among workers would get in the way of their uptake of job skills or OHS training? If so, embedding essential skills content in the job or OHS training could help. Our recent study of hoisting and rigging learners showed better scores among those who took the training with embedded essential skills. A guide based on that research is now available to download.

Read about the study

Work, Migration and Health Forum—May 8-9: IWH researcher discusses newcomers and OHS

In Canada, migrant workers and newcomers are among those disproportionally affected by precarious employment. On May 8-9, the Work, Migration and Health Forum will examine the labour experiences of Canada’s migrants and newcomers, including temporary foreign workers, new immigrants, refugees, international students and undocumented migrants. IWH’s Dr. Basak Yanar, one of the keynote speakers, discusses newcomers’ experiences looking for work and finding information about health and safety. Registration is free for newcomers and migrants.

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Study: Newcomers often lack OHS protection and information in their precarious first jobs

Four themes emerged in an Institute for Work & Health study on the labour market experiences of newcomers to Canada: they have great difficulty finding work; their first jobs are often precarious; they rely heavily on community networks; and their knowledge of workplace health and safety is limited. The researchers suggest more settlement agencies offer OHS information as a regular part of their language training and employment preparation services, as some already do.

Read about the study in At Work

IWH Speaker Series—March 27: Differences in risk of workplace violence for women and men

Workplace violence is getting increasing attention, especially in sectors such as health care and education. On March 27, IWH Speaker Series presents Institute for Work & Health Senior Scientist Dr. Peter Smith, who will talk about two of his recent studies on differences in the risk of workplace violence for men and women. One examined the contribution of work-related factors to the risk of different types of violence, and the other examined risks in different Ontario industries.

Register to attend in person or via live stream