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—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.

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IWH Speaker Series—March 20: Understanding flame retardant hazards in e-waste recycling

As a result of efforts to stem the export of electronic waste to low- and middle-income countries, e-waste recycling is a growing industry in parts of Canada. At an IWH Speaker Series presentation on March 20, Dr. Victoria Arrandale of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre discusses the hazards faced by e-waste recycling workers. She focuses on the hazards of flame retardants, which have been linked to endocrine disruption, neurological outcomes and reproductive effects.

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Measuring the burden of cancer in Ontario

How many workers in Ontario develop cancer due to work exposure to the sun every year? What about exposure to diesel exhaust or crystalline silica? In an ambitious collaborative project, a team of researchers from across Canada have sorted through census records going back 40 years to estimate the number of people exposed to carcinogens at work. Dr. Paul Demers, director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre and one of the scientists on the team, recently shared his methods and findings at an IWH Speakers Series presentation.

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IWH in the media: Marijuana in the workplace. What is unsafe?

"What is striking is how little high-quality evidence there is on the impacts of marijuana in the workplace and how inconsistent the existing data is. We urgently need high-quality observational research studies to be able to better understand the effects of marijuana on work. We also need to develop an accurate measure of impairment for use in Canadian workplaces."—Dr. Andrea Furlan and Dr. Nancy Carnide, in The Conversation, January 22, 2018

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A Q&A on what we know—and don’t know—about marijuana and workplace safety

The federal government says it’s committed to legislation making recreational cannabis legal by July 1, 2018. As that date approaches, many workplace parties are concerned about the implications for occupational health and safety (OHS). So what does the research to date say about marijuana use and OHS? Find out in a Q&A with two of our researchers. (Hint: There’s a lot we need to learn.)

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