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

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IWH Speaker Series—November 20: Clearing the haze on at-work cannabis use and perception

Recreational cannabis is now legal in Canada and many employers are concerned about the potential implications for workplaces. In this IWH Speaker Series presentation, Dr. Nancy Carnide shares early findings of a survey, conducted in June 2018, on patterns of cannabis use at work and workers' perceptions of such use. 

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Media release: Risk of workplace violence increasing among women 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 because of being physically assaulted on the job. This is according to a study by the Toronto-based Institute for Work & Health (IWH), recently published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

See the release
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Save the date: Dr. Paul Demers delivers IWH’s annual Nachemson lecture November 28

The Institute’s Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture takes place this year on November 28. The lecture will be delivered by Dr. Paul Demers, director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC). In this role, Demers has been working with colleagues and collaborators across the country to develop and improve the surveillance of work-related cancers, establish their human and economic burden, and draw on research to develop policy recommendations aimed at preventing exposure. The event, to take place at the Design Exchange in downtown Toronto, is free and open to the public.

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Working long hours increases risk of diabetes in women but not men: study

Women who work 45 hours or more a week face a 63 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes than women who work 35-44 hours. Among men who work long hours, however, the incidence of diabetes tends to go down. This is according to a study by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, which followed a sample of 7,000 Ontario workers over 12 years. The findings, published in July in an open access article in BMJ Diabetes Research & Care, highlight the importance of work and health research that includes sex/gender-based analyses.

Read about the study
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Skin cancers due to sun exposure at work costing Canada millions a year

As we head into another summer here in Canada, workplaces should be especially mindful of protecting outdoor workers from harmful sun exposure. An economic burden study by Institute for Work & Health (IWH) Senior Scientist Dr. Emile Tompa puts the costs in Canada of non-melanoma skin cancers due to work-related sun exposure diagnosed in just one year (2011) at almost 35 million dollars. Skin cancers are the most common form of cancer in Canada. The risks of sun exposure on the job are the highest for people doing construction, road work, farming, landscaping, and transportation and warehousing.

Read about the study