Working conditions and health

What are the effects of work, workplace and labour force conditions on the health and safety of workers and other members of society? Institute for Work & Health (IWH) research in this area seeks to understand the context in which government, sector-based and workplace injury and disability prevention programs operate. This research explores known and emerging injuries, diseases and disorders that are related to job, workplace and/or labour market conditions. It looks at the scope, potential causes and risk factors for these injuries and illnesses, as well as their effect on workers, workplaces, regulators and society as a whole.

Latest news and findings

A worker wearing an apron and a cloth facial mask

Second study finds COVID-19 protection at work is linked with workers' mental health

Levels of anxiety and depression are higher when workers feel they lack COVID-19 protection on the job. That's according to a study of Canadian workers not in health-care, a second in a pair of studies conducted by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) in the early months of the pandemic. Mental health was even poorer among essential workers who said they had no protection at work than among those who had lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic, according to this second study.

Read about the study
Illustration of three workers, two of whom are smoking

Infographic: Cannabis use at work since 2018 legalization

How have trends in cannabis use changed among workers in Canada since the substance was legalized for recreational purposes in 2018? Findings from the first two surveys of an ongoing IWH project on this question are now available in an infographic.

Download the infographic
Paper cutouts of faces in profile

Inequalities growing in Canada in rates of early death

Although early death rates have fallen for nearly all socioeconomic groups in Canada, they're falling faster for some more than others. A new study by Dr. Faraz Vahid Shahidi, IWH Mustard post-doctoral fellow, finds inequalities in premature mortality have widened over 25 years between people with the highest and lowest income and education levels. 

Read about the study
Logo for World Congress COVID-19 and occupational safety and health digital meeting in October 2020

World Congress 2021 hosting free ‘COVID-19 and OSH’ virtual session in early October

Registraion is now open. On October 5, 2020, a half-day special session on COVID-19 and occupational safety and health (OSH) is being offered by the organizers of the 2021 World Congress on Safety and Health at Work—and IWH is among them as a national co-host of the global event. This free, virtual session will feature thought-leaders discussing innovations in addressing COVID-19 in the workplace, how the future of work is being shaped by the global pandemic, and the relevance of promoting a culture of prevention to address COVID-19. Additional sessions are also being organized for October 6, 2020.

Register now
A man kneels as he works with decking boards on a patio

Review summary explores relationship between work and osteoarthritis

Bending, kneeling, climbing or lifting. Which of these work activities, among others, are associated with a greater risk of osteoarthritis (OA) in men and women? A systematic review conducted by IWH—the first to include a wide range of joints affected by OA—are now summarized in our latest Sharing Best Evidence

Read the summary