Vulnerability derives from the Latin word vulnerare (to be wounded) and describes the potential to be harmed physically and/or psychologically. Vulnerability is often understood as the counterpart of resilience, and is increasingly studied in linked social-ecological systems. The Yogyakarta Principles, one of the international human rights instruments use the term "vulnerability" as such potential to abuse or social exclusion.
Vulnerability refers to the inability of a worker or a group of workers to withstand the effects of a hostile work environment.
A window of vulnerability (WoV) is a time frame within which defensive measures are reduced, compromised or lacking. In windows of vulnerability – like the preparation for a movement of a workshop in parallel with the normal performance of the work ,workers are more prone to occupational accidents and incidents.
In relation to hazards and risks, vulnerability is a concept that unifies the relationship that people have with their environment to social forces and institutions and the cultural and other kind of values(habbit,etc.) that sustain or contest them. “The concept of vulnerability expresses the multi-dimensionality of disasters by focusing attention on the totality of relationships in a given social situation which constitute a condition that, in combination with environmental forces, produces a disaster”
It's also the extent to which changes could harm a work system, or to which the community can be affected by the impact of a hazard.
A short presentation (the paper was shown at the 5 th iNTeg-Risk Conference in May 2013) could be found here.