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Researchers seeking employers for occupational health and safety study

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by DCN News Services

TORONTO—In the first study of its kind in Canada, a team of researchers at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) has set out to answer a question: How much do Ontario employers spend to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses?
Researchers seeking employers for occupational health and safety study

Preliminary findings from a sample of 60 organizations suggests that the amount spent ranges widely from around $400 to nearly $6,500 per worker per year, states an IWH release. These estimates take into account the costs related to management and supervision time, staff training, personal protective equipment, external occupational health and safety (OHS) professional services and the "safety" share of capital investments in facilities, vehicles and equipment.

The research team is now actively seeking other Ontario employers to join the study. The goal is to recruit 350 organizations across different sectors, in proportions representative of the labour force in the province, adds the release.

"It would be helpful to have information on what organizations spend on health and safety to support the dialogue between employers and regulators about protecting workers," said Dr. Cam Mustard, IWH president and senior scientist, who is also the lead researcher on the project, in a statement. "I also expect this kind of information would be useful if employers want to have conversations within their sectors about what the right level of investment should be."

According to the release, the study draws on a methodology developed and used by the International Social Security Association, an international grouping of national social security agencies, and German Social Accident Insurance, an umbrella organization of accident insurance institutions for Germany's industrial and public sectors.

As part of the study, participants will be asked to complete the Organizational Policies and Practices (OPP) questionnaire that was developed as part of the IWH's Ontario Leading Indicator Project. The goal will be to find if there is a link between the level of expenditures and OPP scores.

Later in the project, the research team hopes to also use Workplace Safety and Insurance Board administrative data to examine the link between firm-level OHS investment and injury claim outcomes.

Recruitment for this study is expected to continue through the spring of 2017. Organizations interested in taking part are asked to contact Morgan Lay, research associate on the project, at mlay@iwh.on.ca.

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