OCCUPATIONAL
ILLNESS

An occupational illness is a health condition or disorder that is caused by the work environment or related activities. They can be disruptive, disabling and sometimes fatal. Examples range from hearing loss to asthma, infections and some cancers. We encourage you to explore the many topics below as well as the services and resources we offer related to each.

A CHALLENGING and COMPLEX PROBLEM

Occupational illness and its prevention requires engagement and action at all levels of the Prevention System and beyond – from communities, families, workers, managers, safety reps, owners, safety professionals, health care providers and regulators.

Key topics under Occupational Disease include the following:

ILLNESSES

ILLNESSES

From cancers to heart disease to respiratory issues,
illness of many types can be related to our work.
It is important to know the hazards of your job,
and take whatever precautions are required to work safely
and stay healthy on the job.

EXPOSURES

EXPOSURES

Exposure to asbestos, allergens and irritants, diesel exhausts, noise, heat/cold, and silica can all cause adverse health effects if not controlled properly. It is important to know exactly what you are exposed to in your work and what the potential outcomes of those exposures are.

PREVENTION

PREVENTION

Recognizing and preventing work-related illness continues to present significant challenges, and requires different (and sometimes unique) approaches from those that target injuries – although, at the core, the elimination or reduction of hazardous exposures and the control of risks are fundamental.

Icon of a heart, lungs and virus representing a variety of illness types
ILLNESSES

Icon of an exposure lens with a figure overlapping
EXPOSURES

Icon of an upside down triangle depicting control methods
PREVENTION

Three Occupational Illness Webinar Series to Serve You

OCC-TOBER & BEYOND

An Annual Webinar Series Sharing Information on Occupational Health and Illness/Disease Prevention

OCC-COVID

An ongoing series of webinars that present the current COVID situation
and provide guidance and direction for dealing with it in our workplaces and public settings

OCC-DISEASE PREVENTION

An Annual Webinar Series providing the latest research and workplace knowledge to help those impacted now, and prevent such harm in the future

COVID-19

COVID-19 is not showing any signs of letting up soon. As long as it is amongst us, we will continue to provide you with the latest information available. In our COVID section you will find a number of recorded webinars; fact sheets; position papers; recommendations and tools to assist workers and workplaces in navigating the unique challenges that COVID-19 presents. Don’t forget to check back regularly, we will continue to update our resources as new research and updated work-related information becomes available.

Icon of a heart, lungs and virus representing a variety of illness types
ILLNESSES

From cancers to heart disease to respiratory issues, illness of many types can be related to our work.
It is important to know the hazards of your job, and take whatever precautions are required to work safely and stay healthy on the job.

Icon of an exposure lens with a figure overlapping
EXPOSURES

Exposure to asbestos, allergens and irritants, diesel exhausts, noise, heat/cold, and silica can all cause adverse health effects if not controlled properly.
It is important to know exactly what you are exposed to in your work and what the potential outcomes of those exposures are.

Icon of an upside down triangle depicting control methods
PREVENTION

Recognizing and preventing work-related disease continues to present significant challenges, and requires different (and sometimes unique) approaches from those that target injuries – although, at the core, the elimination or reduction of hazardous exposures and the control of risks are fundamental. Occupational diseases are frequently not recognized as being related to workplace exposures, particularly because, for many diseases, the exposure which contributed to their development occurred many years ago.

Icon of an upside down triangle depicting control methods
INDUSTRIES / SECTORS

Note:  This section is currently under construction. We thank you for you patience while we work on it’s development.

Different industries / sectors have different health and safety issues to deal with. Below are the major industries along with resources provided to help deal with the issues.

COVID-19 and Societal Inequities: A Look at the Impact on the Mental Health of Healthworkers

April 5, 2022

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Birgit Umaigba, ICU RN and Clinical Practice Instructor at Centennial College

Healthcare Implications Now and in the Future

April 22, 2022

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Dr. Victor Leung, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

*EARTH DAY REFLECTIONS TO INFORM PREVENTION

April 22, 2022

[WEBINAR EVENT]
Dr. Jane McArthur, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE)
Dr. Colin Furness, Faculty of Information and DLSPH, University of Toronto
Dr. Victor Leung, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Code White: Sounding the Alarm on Violence Against Health Care Workers and Violence in the Long-Term Healthcare Sector

April 8, 2022

[LIVE WEBINAR]
James Brophy, PhD, Occupational Health Researcher
Margaret Keith, PhD, Occupational Health Researcher
Michael Hurley, President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

Spring into ACTion: Health & Safety Forum 2022

Friday, April 8, 2022

SESSIONS / SPEAKERS

Concussion, Post-Concussion Symptoms, Under-Reporting, and Prevention of Workplace Hazards

Pandemic Experience Surveys Re-launch (Healthcare)

SURVEY – Building on the important insights gained through two (Healthcare and Generic) Worker Pandemic Experience Surveys posted in the spring of 2020, which received thousands of respondents, OHCOW is re-launching the Surveys to capture any change to the worker experience during the currently surging second wave.

*EFFECTIVE PPE AS A CONTROL: RESPIRATORY PROTECTION DURING COVID WINTER

December 11, 2020

Part of the OCC-COVID Webinar Series

Understand the difference, see the impact of making the wrong choice, and learn how judicious use is making a difference in Covid prevention

*APPLYING HIERARCHY OF CONTROLS FOR POINT-OF-CARE RISK ASSESSMENT FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS

June 26, 2020

Part of the OCC-COVID Webinar Series

Providing the most up-to-date science, strategies and recommendations to provide a point-of-care risk assessment (PCRA) for healthcare workers

Point of Care Risk Assessment (PCRA) for Health Care Workers

June 26, 2020

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Sandi Jones, SEIU Health Care

Healthcare and Mental Health Resources and Support

May 1, 2020

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Kim Slade, Director Emerging Markets & Commercialization, Public Services Health and Safety Association, PSHSA

Advancing an M-Health Approach to Supporting Front-line Healthcare Workers

May 1, 2020

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Sandra Moll, Occupational Therapist and Associate Professor, School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University

Pandemic Experience by Healthcare Workers Survey

May 1, 2020

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
John Oudyk, Occupational Hygienist, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Worker (OHCOW)

Share your Covid-19 work experience

Share your Covid-19 work experience for future prevention

A survey of healthcare workers’ experiences during a pandemic

A survey of healthcare workers’ experiences during a pandemic

Beyond Silence: Supporting a Psychologically Healthy and Safe Workplace

May 27, 2019

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Tegan Slot and Jeremy Holden, Health and Safety Consultants

Back to School: Ergonomics for Educators & Students

[PODCAST]
Dwayne Fuchs and Melissa Statham, Occupational Ergonomists, OHCOW

The Psychosocial Work Environment Among Educators During the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 3, 2022

[ARTICLE]
P Smith, J Oudyk, L Cedillo, K Inouye, G Potter, C Mustard

Protecting Teachers and Students – Optimizing Ventilation in Older Schools / Buildings: Lessons from Australia

June 3, 2022

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Dr. Jorma (Jay) Mueller, Senior Medical Officer, Queensland Australia

FRONTLINE MENTAL HEALTH, STRESSORS and STRATEGIES for WORKPLACES

April 5, 2022

[WEBINAR EVENT]
Highlighting the current evidence around the effects of COVID on mental health, with shared experience from the front lines, including education and nursing voices.

Cleaning for Health, Not Theatre

A presentation made by Dorothy Wigmore, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), as part of the 2021 OCC-COVID webinar series.

Delta and School Reopening: How to Ensure Good Ventilation / Filtration

[SLIDES]
September 24, 2021

Dr. Jim Rosenthal, Tex-Air Filters

Critical Concepts in Ventilation & Viral Evolution

December 16, 2022 • A “double bill” on two important topics: Indoor air, public health & COVID-19 + The Science of Mutation: Variant Risk and Impact.

Let’s hear from the Engineers & stop the spread! Occ-Covid Webinar

December 9, 2022

[LIVE WEBINAR]
Joey Fox, P. Eng, MASc, HVAC Engineer
Marianne Levitsky, MES, CIH, ROH, FAIHA, founding President,
Stéphane Bilodeau, P.Eng., Ph.D., Fellow of Engineers Canada

Making It All Easier: Knowledge Mobilization & Tools Webinar

November 24, 2022 • With Thomas Tenkate, School of Occupational and Public Health; Angela Wheeler MSc, CIH, CRSP and SDS Registered Author, Dr. Joel Moody, Chief Prevention Officer and more.

Health and Safety Prevention and Controls

[POSTER]
Available in English, Spanish (Espanol), and Thai
OHCOW’s Migrant Farm Workers Team

What Causes Our Symptoms? HAZARDS

[POSTER]
Available in English, Spanish (Espanol) and Thai
OHCOW Migrant Farm Workers Team

Resin Tables and Working with Epoxies

May 19, 2022

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
James Miuccio, BSc MSc CIH CRSP, Occupational Hygienist, OHCOW
Sonia Lal, MSc, CIH, Occupational Hygienist, OHCOW

Simple Chemical Risk Assessment for Small Business

December 2021

[ARTICLE]
Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) Magazine
Thomas Tenkate

Demystifying the Safety Data Sheet

December 2021

[PODCAST]
James Miuccio, OHCOW Occupational Hygienist
Sonia Lal, OHCOW Occupational Hygienist

CHAP-Risk Tool

December 2021

[TOOL]
A workplace tool used for identifying and prioritizing workplace chemical hazards.

OCC-TOBER 2021

October / November 2021

[RECORDED WEBINARS]
A wide range of current occupational health topics are covered by a variety of well-known speakers.

Work-Related Asthma – Hair, Nail & Beauty Salons

[BROCHURE]
The Lung Association, OHCOW, Health & Safety Ontario

*WORKPLACE TOOLS AND KNOWLEDGE MOBILIZATION

November 19, 2021

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Part of the 2021 OCC-TOBER Webinar Series

CHAP Tools: Locally Developed User-friendly Software for Chemical Hazard and Risk Assessment

November 19, 2021

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Thomas Tenkate, Ryerson University

*RESEARCH and DATA

November 12, 2021

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Part of the 2021 OCC-TOBER Webinar Series

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

November 12, 2021

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Barbara Hales and Bernard Robaire
McGill University

*EXAMINING CHANGE

November 5, 2021

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Part of the 2021 OCC-TOBER Webinar Series

*FRAMING THE FUTURE

October 29, 2021

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Part of the 2021 OCC-TOBER Webinar Series

Working Safely with Pesticides

2020

[FACTSHEETS / HANDOUTS]
A series of colourful, information handouts available in both English and Spanish.

Petrochem Forum 2019

The 24th annual Petrochem Forum being held in Sarnia on Thursday, June 6, 2019.

First Aid for Eye Injuries

2015

[FACTSHEET / HANDOUT]
Canadian Ophthalmological Society

Ergonomics and Hairstyling

2021

[SLIDES]
Melissa Statham, Ergonomist, OHCOW
Dwayne Fuchs, Ergonomist, OHCOW

Work-Related Asthma – Hair, Nail & Beauty Salons

[BROCHURE]
The Lung Association, OHCOW, Health & Safety Ontario

Nail Salons Services During a Global Pandemic

October 13, 2021

[PODCAST]
James Miuccio, OHCOW Occupational Hygienist
Sonia Lal, OHCOW Occupational Hygienist

OCC-TOBER 2021

October / November 2021

[RECORDED WEBINARS]
A wide range of current occupational health topics are covered by a variety of well-known speakers.

Respirable Dust Exposure in Ontario Miners and the WSIB COPD Exposure Guideline

November 5, 2021

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Paul Sampara, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)

Trading One Risk for Another

September 2021

[EXTERNAL REPORT]
Janice Martell, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), McIntyre Powder Project
Tee L. Guidotti, MD, MPH, DABT, Consultant in OEM, Public Health, Toxicology, Sustainability Occupational + Environmental Health & Medicine

Kidney Cancer and Exposures in Ontario Mines

[REPORT]
Todd Irick, M.Sc., CIH, Occupational Hygienist, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)

Aluminum Dust Exposure and Evidence for Impairment of Cognitive Function

[EXTERNAL REPORT] – This review was undertaken in response to a request by OHCOW for the specific task of reviewing and identifying gaps in the Systematic Review of Occupational Aluminum Exposure and Adverse Health Conditions (Final Report).

Leading into November – Lung Month

October 2020

[RECORDED WEBINAR]
Kevin Hedges and John Oudyk, Occupational Hygienists, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)
Sean McGinn, MKNIZD Factors
Dr. Christine Oliver, Medical Consultant, OHCOW; Division of Occupational and Environmental Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Background and Development of the WSIB Lung Cancer-Gold Miners Policy 16-02-07

December 30, 2019

[PAPER]
Paul Sampara, BSc, DOHS, MEng, ROH, Occupational Hygiene Consultant, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), et al

Webinar: McIntyre Powder, Mining Exposures and Health

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/webinar-mcintyre-powder-mining-exposures-and-health-tickets-84608294687

Physical and Chemical Characterization of McIntyre Powder

September 2019

[STUDY – EXTERNAL]
Andrew Zarnke, OHCOW and Laurentian University along with Pat E. Rasmussen, Marie-Odile David, Housan Eidi, Konner Kennedy, Kevin Hedges, Todd Irick, Christopher Thome, Jake Pirkkanen and Douglas Boreham

Bladder Cancer and Exposure in Ontario Mines

July 19, 2019

[PAPER]
Todd Irick, M.Sc. CIH, Occupational Hygienist, et al

McIntyre Powder: Fine (PM2.5) and Ultrafine Dust Exposures and Cardiovascular Disease

Andrew Zarnke, Ph.D. (candidate), H.BSc. Occupational Health Coordinator, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW – Sudbury), et al

McIntyre Powder: Biological Significance of the Manner of Exposure and Particle Size

April 2021

[REPORT]
Andrew Zarnke, Ph.D. (candidate), H.BSc., Occupational Health Coordinator, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW – Sudbury)
Medical review by: Dr. Christine Oliver, MD, MPH, MS, FACPM, Medical Consultant – Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)

Sarcoidosis: Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Causal Associations with Occupational and Environmental Exposures

March 26, 2019

[DOCUMENT]
Dr. Christine Oliver, MD, MPH, MS, FACPM,  Medical Consultant, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), et al

ONTARIO’S OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE ACTION PLAN (ODAP)

The current ODAP was developed in late 2016 to focus the Prevention System and other key Stakeholder energies and efforts on Occupational Disease prevention.
Updates to the Plan are in the works and will be posted here as soon as they become available.

OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE CLUSTER INVESTIGATIONS

Occupational Disease Cluster Investigations (ODCI) are opened at the request of individuals, worker organizations, and/or community groups who suspect that health conditions that a group of workers have in common were caused by exposure in their shared workplace or industry. LEARN MORE >

The following ODCI are currently on-going:

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PREVENT OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE

A portal of resources built and maintained by OHCOW and CCOHS.

PREVENTION
TODAY

HEALTH
TOMORROW

SUBMISSIONS

OHCOW’s mission includes a goal to protect workers and their communities from occupational diseases, injuries, and illnesses.
As part of this mission, OHCOW encourages health-based and evidence-based occupational exposure limits
(OELs) for chemicals, and equivalent sound exposure level criteria for noise exposure.

Logo of the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD)

OHCOW has produced submissions for Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD), and its predecessor ministries (MLTSD, MOL), to address evidence-based limits for Ontario regulations.

Logo of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists

OHCOW has also produced commentary that have been submitted to the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) addressing new / adjusting existing Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) for chemical and other occupational exposures.

A row of icons representing the various services offered by OHCOW

OHCOW SERVICES

OHCOW offers a variety of services that you or your workplace can utilize
in dealing with work-related injuries or illnesses.

From an information/inquiry service to medical diagnostic services, and education and outreach programs
to group services and research services we are here to help in any way we can.

We also offer advocate, health professional, self, and joint health and safety representative and committee referrals.

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IN YOUR WORDS

I was treated like a human being and not like a statistic by all levels of staff – from administration to the nurse to the doctor. Thank you so very much for your support.

Anonymous

Despite my lack of language proficiency, your office made the necessary effort to understand me and made me comfortable to express my issues at ease.

Anonymous

I received professional service. the staff is very friendly and considerate. They talked in a way I understood even though my English is very limited.

Anonymous