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Huge Study Aims to Understand the OHS Culture of Ontario Firms

Four health and safety associations in Ontario have joined forces with the Institute for Work & Health to undertake the largest workplace prevention studies in Ontario. The Institute for Work & Health is looking to recruit 5,000 organizations to participate in the study.

Informally referred to as the “5,000 Firm Study,” it hopes to understand the relationship between an organizations health, safety and disability policies and practices in relation to injuries and illness. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board will randomly choose 5,000 firms, and public service agencies from municipal, health care and education will also be invited to participate.

The anticipation for this project could have a huge opportunity impact for Ontario’s prevention system according to Dr. Ben Amick, IWH’s scientific director and project lead. With participating organizations agreeing to join the study, they will fill out a web-based questionnaire regarding their safety culture, occupational health and safety management systems, join health and safety committees, and organizational policies and practices.

Responses will be linked to claim rate records as each firm responds about their management or safety measures; all information maintained in strict confidence. Linking this data, researchers will see potential relationships between specific measures, and injury or illness claims.

The end goal is to establish leading indicators that workplaces will be able to utilize as they assess their own safety performance. Tools that provide an opportunity to reduce injury and illness based upon real evidence.

Organizations will also be able to see how they compare to other companies in their industry sector. This information will create a significant knowledge base for Ontario which organizations can then benchmark.

Organizations in Ontario can participate in the study until May 2012. To learn more, contact Colette Severin, IWH’s project coordinator at cseverin@iwh.on.ca or 416-927-2027, ext. 2126.

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