Occupational Illness

Exposure to hazards in the workplace can result from many sources including: 

Icon depicting the concept of sound / noise waves


Icon depicting the concept of diesel exhaust

Diesel Exhaust

Icon depicting the concept of asbestos with fine particles sandwiched between layers of material


Icon depicting the concept of silica dust using a diamond-like structure


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Icon depicting the concept of allergens and irritants

Allergens / Irritants

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These hazards are outlined in greater detail below and resources are provided where available.


Exposure to noise in the workplace is an issue that can have devastating, life-long effects on workers.

We offer the following resources to help you learn more about and better manage noise in the workplace:

Noise-induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) Audiogram Calculation Tool

Updated August 2021

Designed to assess values based on the worker’s audiogram to clarify if their NIHL meets the minimum requirement for establishing a NIHL claim with the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

[Fillable PDF]

Noise – Its Effects and Methods to Reduce Exposure

A presentation
Presented by James Miuccio, MSc, CIH
Occupational Hygienist


Doing Something About Workplace Noise

Thumbnail of an infographic title Doing Something About Workplace Noise

An infographic presenting the types and effects of noise, control measures and goals, as well as the benefits of noise control.


Worker exposure to diesel exhaust mainly occurs by breathing in the gases and soot, which then enter the workers’ lungs.
Repeated exposure to diesel exhaust can lead to lung and bladder cancer and can also cause chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.

Emissions-based Diesel Engine Maintenance:
Reducing Worker Exposure to Diesel Emissions

A presentation that discusses the history behind emissions-based maintenance (EBM), mining diesel engines, EBM in global mining and implementing EMB.

Presented by Sean McGinn [MKNIZD | Factors]


Diesel Exposure in Workplaces

A recorded webinar that explores the assessment and control strategies for diesel exhaust exposure.
Presented in partnership with CAREX Canada, the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) and Ontario’s Occupational Disease Action Plan (ODAP) Working Group on Diesel Exhaust.


Asbestos exposure can lead to serious health effects such as:

asbestosis   •   lung cancer   •   mesothelioma

Workplace exposure to asbestos is the No. 1 cause of asbestos-related disease.

Use the following resources to learn more about asbestos exposure in the workplace:

Celebrating the Asbestos Ban in Canada:
and Where to Go From Here

A presentation that provides an overview of how we achieved the Canadian ban on asbestos, identifies the challenges faced and the strategies developed as well as a look towards the future.

Presented by Alec Farquhar, Coordinator, Asbestos Free Canada


Investigating the Need for Asbestos Management Standards

A presentation that includes literature reviews, an environmental scan, interviews with key informants as well as a gap analysis and recommendations.
Presented by Anya Keefe, Paul Demers, Manisha Pahwa, Soham Paraelkar
at the 2020 Occ-tober Symposium

Thumbnail image of the Investigating the need for asbestos management standards presentation


A Quantitative Retrospective Exposure
Assessment for Former Chrysotile Asbestos Miners and Millers from Baie Verte, NL, Canada

An original article from the Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 2020, written by Tina Giles Murphy, Stephen Bornstein, John Oudyk and Paul Demers



Logo of the Silica Control Tool Pilot Program for Ontario

Silica Control Tool Pilot Program for Construction Industry
Now Available in Ontario!

In a first for the BCCSA proprietary Silica Control Tool™, a group of workplaces outside the province will begin using the Tool under a 12-month pilot program involving 70 Ontario workplaces, beginning this fall (2021).

Heat / Cold

Workers are often employed in environments, both inside and outside, which may involve exposure to both cold and hot temperatures.
Understanding the health risks involved with working in extreme temperatures can help employers protect their workers.

From heat stress and sun stroke to hypothermia and snow shovelling, we cover a wide range of health effects with valuable resources:

Learn more button

Are You Ready for Winter?
Working in the Cold
Ergonomics and Snow Removal

A presentation that provides information on working in the cold including thermoregulation, acute and chronic health effects, hypothermia and prevention controls. It also provides ergonomic information related to snow shoveling including preparing yourself for the task, picking the right shovel, snow weight and use of a snowblower.

Cold Stress Calculator

An Excel-based tool created as a simple means for determining what precautions should be taken to protect workers from cold stress-related adverse health outcomes.

Attend our Be Winter Ready Webinar / Calculator Launch

December 16, 2021


Heat Stress Awareness Guide

Cover of the WSIB Heat Stress Awareness Guide

An in-depth guide to help employers and worker learn how to prevent heat stress by summarizing the causes, symptoms, and treatment of heat-related illness.

Humidex-based Heat Response Plan

Thumbnail image of the Humidex-based Heat Response Plan

A simplified way of protecting workers from heat stress which is based on the 2009 ACGIH Heat Stress TLV® (Threshold Limit Value®) which uses wet bulb globe temperatures (WBGT) to estimate heat strain. These WBGT’s were translated into Humidex.


Respiratory Hazards

A presentation by Kimberly O’Connell, Kevin Hedges, Todd Irick

ODAP: Allergens and Irritants Update

A presentation by D Linn Holness

Occupational Health Issues in Agriculture

A presentation by Dr. Michael Pysklywec


Image of person wearing safety glasses and a respirator overlayed with a sample safety data sheet (SDS) as well as an SDS binder and WHMIS symbols

Demystifying the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

An OHCOW Podcast


Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) Adjustment Tool

Updated August 2021

Based on the model and guide developed by the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST)

Brought to you by OHCOW, and the Occupational Disease Action Plan Contributors, this tool* allows the calculation of the adjusted workplace exposure limit for an unusual or extended work shift which has been adapted using the methodology set out in the Guide for the Adjustment of Permissible Exposure Values for Unusual Work Schedules (March 2015), published by Quebec’s Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST).

This method, used in the Province of Quebec and referenced by the ACGIH and other health and safety organizations, considers toxicological information such as sensitization, irritation, organ toxicity, reproductive system toxicity  and teratogenicity, in addition to exposure and recovery times.

Irregular work shifts are now commonplace in many industries and the standard eight-hour work day/40 hour work week (which has been the basis for the time-weighted average (TWA) occupational exposure limits) is often not the reality. To address this change, exposure standard adjustments have increasingly become an essential component in workplace exposure assessment.

[*XCL document*]

*The file works ONLY if the macro security level of Excel is set to “enable all.”
Detailed instructions are provided at the bottom of the Tool’s Intro page by clicking on the Important arrow.

If you have questions regarding the OEL Tool, or would like to speak to an Occupational Hygienist for more information regarding exposure assessments or occupational disease prevention, please contact ask@ohcow.on.ca using OEL Adjust Tool in the subject line.