Workplace OHS programs and practices

Workplaces play a vital role in ensuring the well-being of workers. So knowing what occupational health and safety (OHS) practices are most effective in preventing injury and illness is essential. The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) has a long history of conducting workplace-based research to provide practical guidance to employers, workers, OHS professionals and regulators about what works and what doesn’t. This research targets the injury and illness prevention practices of workplaces, as well as the programs developed by governments, health and safety associations and others to support and motivate workplaces in adopting effective practices.

Latest news and findings


Guide to support workers with depression now available to download

If someone you work with or supervise experiences depressionor if you have symptoms yourselfthere are ways to offer and seek support. Our new Evidence-informed guide to supporting people with depression in the workplace lays out tips and suggestions. It’s aimed at helping people with depression cope with symptoms while working or returning to work after an episode of depression. Users may include individuals with depression, managers, co-workers, human resources staff, union representatives and worker representatives. When it comes to supporting workers with depression, everyone can help.

Download the guide

WSPS small business strategy taps into IWH's model of breakthrough change

In 2016, IWH Scientist Dr. Lynda Robson created a model of “breakthrough change” based on her research into the critical factors behind large and sustained occupational health and safety improvements in organizations. In a new impact case study, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) Small Business Director Harry Stewart describes the many ways WSPS's small business strategy builds on that model, which he describes as the "foundation for how we’re moving forward." 

Read the case study

Help us find out what works in MSD prevention

Help us learn about current workplace strategies to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Take our survey, and tell us what MSD prevention practices you or your workplace are currently using, what is working and what is challenging. Your answers will help shape an easy-to-use free guide that details how to manage MSDs in the workplace, being developed by a team of researchers at IWH.

Complete the MSD prevention survey

IWH in the media: Can data help prevent workplace injuries and death?

Can big data—and its less complex sibling, routine data—help prevent injuries and death? Yes, say Institute for Work & Health (IWH)'s Dr. Chris McLeod and Dr. Cameron Mustard in a January 28, 2018, article in the Journal of Commerce. Routine data has been put to productive use in Ontario, where the Ministry of Labour learned that falls from heights (more than three metres) were the biggest cause of traumatic death in the construction industry, says Mustard, president of IWH.

Read the article

Do workers exercise more when their employers offer health promotion programs?

Many workplaces offer wellness programs and facilities that support physical activity near or at work. But do these offerings actually get workers to exercise more? IWH’s Mustard Post-doctoral Fellow Dr. Avi Biswas recently conducted a study on the link between access to such programs/facilities and the leisure time physical activity of employees. The results are encouraging. He shared his findings at a recent IWH presentation, now available as a slidecast.

Watch the slidecast