MRO Magazine

Experts to address health and safety issues of changing workplaces

Vancouver, BC -- So much has changed since many of us joined the workforce. The demographic now includes more women...

Health & Safety

June 27, 2007
By MRO Magazine

Vancouver, BC — So much has changed since many of us joined the workforce. The demographic now includes more women, more ethnically diverse workers, and an increasingly older workforce in general. And, rather than just the standard nine-to-fivers, today’s workplace includes more ‘precarious employment’ – contracting, self-employment, part-time or temporary positions, and more workers who have multiple jobs. This changing workplace presents gaps in worker protection and raises the question of who is accountable and responsible for health and safety in the workplace.

To address this issue, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is hosting Forum ’07 ‘Emerging Health & Safety Issues in Changing Workplaces: A Canadian Discussion’, Sept. 17-18, 2007, in Vancouver, B.C. The second event of its kind, Forum07 brings together experts, workers, employers and governments to share their knowledge and experience to discuss problems and solutions.

CCOHS has assembled an authoritative, prestigious line-up of experts from Canada and Australia to present on the health and safety issues that are emerging from changing workplaces. Forum 07 will provide an opportunity for participants to explore and better understand how these unique challenges impact the health, safety and well being of workers.

Dr. Michael Quinlan, a Fellow of Safety Institute of Australia and professor in the School of Organisation and Management at the University of New South Wales, will share his views and discuss the effects of increasingly precarious employment in his presentation on The Evolving Workplace. Dr. Quinlan has focused on the effects of institutional organization, regulation and employment status on OHS. In recent years he has published widely on the effects of precarious employment on occupational health and safety.


Professor Katherine Lippel, a professor of law at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law’s civic law section, will address Gaps in Protection, Accountability and Responsibility for OH&S in the Changing Workplace. Prof. Lippel will explore whether workers with precarious employment fall under the same OH&S standards as permanent employees and whether health and safety legislation fully protects them. Prof. Lippel specializes in legal issues relating to occupational health and safety and workers’ compensation and is the author of several articles and books in the field.

Dr. Catherine M. Burns, an associate professor in systems design engineering at the University of Waterloo, will tackle the issue of Emerging Technologies and Processes that bring new risks to workers and examine answers to the question of how to keep up with technology and control new workplace hazards. Dr. Burns directs the Advanced Interface Design Lab at Waterloo, where her research examines user interface design, visualization and cognitive work analysis. Her work has been applied to military systems, healthcare, power plant control, and oil and gas refining. She has authored over 100 papers.

The question of Why Organizations Need to Focus on Employee Well-being will be covered in a presentation by Dr. Linda Duxbury, one of Canada’s leading workplace health researchers. Dr. Duxbury is a Professor at the Carleton University School of Business and the Director of Research at the Centre for Research and Education on Women and Work. She has focused much of her research in the last decade on work and family balance and has significantly advanced the practices and attitudes toward work-life balance in the public and private sectors.

Interactive, informative workshop and plenary sessions presented by leading experts will hopefully inspire ideas that foster improvements in worker health and safety.

Those who register by June 30 will save $100 with early bird pricing. Information about Forum ’07 is available at