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

Blurred figures of workers walking

How daily movement patterns are linked to heart health of workers

How much physical activity do Canadian workers actually do in a day, and when? And what patterns of movement are associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease? An Institute for Work & Health (IWH) study drew on activity tracker data to answer these questions. It found that people who were sedentary—i.e. who did little physical activity throughout the day—had the highest risk of heart disease compared to most other groups. No surprise there. What is surprising, however, was how their heart health risk compared with those who did vigorous, tiring work all day.

Find out more
A man and a woman work together to push a trolley through a warehouse

New review sums up sex/gender differences in work injury and illness outcomes

Men and women may be part of the labour force in roughly equal proportions. But many jobs and industries are still dominated by one sex/gender or another. In that light, a new systematic review at IWH looks at how work exposures and injury/illness outcomes are different for men and women.

See what the literature says
A blurry image of a hospital waiting room

IWH links ER and workers’ comp claims data, finds important patterns in under-reporting

Over a third of work-related injuries and illnesses treated in Ontario hospital emergency rooms (ERs) don’t get reported as Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) claims. That’s according to a recent Institute for Work & Health (IWH) data linkage study that found notable patterns in work-related injury reporting and under-reporting—including a change in reporting levels following the 2008/09 global financial crisis.

Read about the study findings
An overhead shot of a woman holding her head in front of a laptop

IWH study finds psychosocial work factors lead to burnout, not other way around

Studies to date have repeatedly shown a link between poor psychosocial work conditions and burnout. Some have also shown the link to potentially be a causal one. But if work can cause burnout, might burnout influence a person’s relationship to work? A new IWH study recently explored this question. 

Read about the study
A worker slumps over in fatigue and defeat, next to an angry boss and a desk piled high with work

Burnout, stress risk increases greatly when psychosocial work conditions are bad overall

For one in 10 Canadian workers, the psychosocial work environment is poor across the board. They lack job security, have unmanageable workloads, receive little supervisor support, and so on. What’s more, their working conditions are associated with a substantial increase in risk of burnout and stress—seven and nine times greater risk, respectively, than among workers with good psychosocial working conditions. This is according to a new study by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW).

 

Read about the findings