Health and safety programs and regulations

In brief

  • Occupational health and safety interventions, including regulatory approaches, programs, and management systems, are key strategies for reducing worker injury and illness. Examples include inspections, citations and penalties; the requirement for firms to have joint labour and management health and safety committees and/or to conduct routine hazard assessment; and the implementation of integrated health and safety management systems.


In BC

  • PhD trainee Kim McLeod’s PhD dissertation (2019) investigated whether regulatory inspections of workplace safety are associated with lower injury rates in BC firms. Her analysis of data from 2004 to 2014 found that inspections generally did not lead to a decrease in injury rates. We plan to add new years of data to further evaluate regulatory safety inspections in BC.
  • We assessed the WorkSafeBC Inspection Experience and Impact survey to identify the factors that determine hazard management changes in workplaces following inspections and understand how employer and worker representatives rated their inspection officer’s ability to explain (1) how hazards in the workplace were managed by the firm/employer; (2) what changes were needed by their firm/employer to be compliant with regulation; and (3) whether or not the inspection led to changes in how hazards were managed at their workplace.
  • We found that inspections can be effective in promoting changes in workplace hazard management. Over 70% of respondents reported inspections led to changes, and predictors of changes included officer communication, orders issued, and job role. See more in Safety Science.
  • We conducted independent impact evaluations of the Certificate of Recognition (COR) audit programs in BC (and Alberta and Saskatchewan) to assess how participation has affected firms’ claim rates and health and safety experience. COR programs provide premium rebates to employers who meet certain occupational health and safety management benchmarks or who have implemented a return to work program for injured workers. Results of these studies
  • We surveyed long-term care homes and food processing firms about their health and safety practices, with the goal of establishing a set of leading health and safety indicators that organizations can use to assess and improve their health and safety performance. More information

In Alberta

  • In an extension of Kim McLeod’s work in BC, we are investigating the effectiveness of regulatory activities, i.e., inspections and orders, on firm-level injury rates in Alberta.
  • We are examining the effects of both general (i.e., does the increase in the likelihood of enforcement activities decrease firm-level claim rates by industry sector) and specific deterrence (i.e., do firms who have enforcement activities have lower claim rates compared to matched observationally equivalent firms that do not).

In Manitoba

  • We are conducting an evaluation of different disability management practices in the health care sector in Manitoba.
  • The objectives of the evaluation are (1) to evaluate the impact of the introduction of different work disability management practices within and across regions through an analysis of claims data; (2) to catalogue changes to work disability management practices in the sector through key informant and document analysis; and (3) to understand and compare the perceptions of a group of representative injured workers who have experienced different RTW practices and policies through worker interviews.

In Ontario

  • We are conducting an evaluation of the Health and Safety Excellence (HSE) program, which was recently introduced by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario (WSIB) to help Ontario firms improve workplace health and safety, by looking at changes in participating firms’ health and safety practices and collecting baseline information to assess longer-term impacts on health and safety outcomes. Learn more

Related publications

An audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program: Is COR associated with lower firm-level injury rates in Saskatchewan?

Research brief. Full reports available by request. Based on research presented in:
Macpherson R, Fan J, Peck H, McLeod C. Is COR associated with lower firm-level injury rates in Saskatchewan? Final Report to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board. Vancouver, BC: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety, University of British Columbia; 2021.

Determining hazard management changes in workplaces following workplace safety inspections by WorkSafeBC in British Columbia, Canada

Journal article
Macpherson RA, Yousefi M, McLeod CB.
Safety Science. 2021;140. Available online 19 April 2021.

Is the Return to Work Certificate of Recognition Program associated with improved outcomes?

Research brief. Full report available by request. Based on research presented in:
McLeod CB, McLeod KV, Tamburic L, Maas ET. Is the Return to Work Certificate of Recognition Program associated with improved outcomes? Final Report to WorkSafeBC; 2020.

Performance of the COR® audit in BC construction firms: Do higher scores predict lower injury rates?

Research brief. Full reports available by request. Based on research presented in:

McLeod C, Saffari N, Cliff R, Jones A. Assessment of the British Columbia Construction Safety Alliance Certificate of Recognition audit score measurement properties. Final Report to WorkSafeBC and the British Columbia Construction Safety Alliance; 2020.

McLeod C, Yousefi M, Jones A. (2020). What occupational health and safety management system components predict firm injury rates in the British Columbia construction industry? Assessing the predictive validity of the British Columbia Construction Safety Alliance’s Certificate of Recognition Audit Tool. Final Report to the British Columbia Construction Safety Alliance. Vancouver: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety; 2020.

Understanding regulatory workplace safety inspections in British Columbia, Canada: Theory and evaluation

Thesis
McLeod K.
Vancouver: The University of British Columbia; 2019.

An audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program: Does certification lead to lower firm work-injury rates in BC?

Research brief. Full report available by request.
Based on research presented in McLeod C, Quirke W, McLeod K, Aderounmu A. Evaluating the effect of an audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program on firm work-injury rates in British Columbia, Canada, 2003-2016: a matched difference-in-difference approach. Final Report to WorkSafeBC. Vancouver: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety; 2019.

An audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program: Is certification associated with lower firm work-injury rates in Alberta?

Research brief. Full report available by request.
Based on research presented in McLeod C, Macpherson R, Quirke W, Koehoorn M, Aderounmu A. Is COR associated with lower firm-level injury rates? An evaluation of the effect of an audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program on firm work-injury rates in Alberta, Canada. Final Report to Alberta Ministry of Labour. Vancouver: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety, University of BC.

A systematic literature review of the effectiveness of occupational health and safety regulatory enforcement

Journal article
Tompa E, Kalcevich C, Foley M, McLeod C, Hogg-Johnson S, Cullen K, MacEachen E, Irvin E, Mahood Q.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2016 Nov;59(11):919-933.

An audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program: Is certification associated with lower firm work-injury rates?

Research brief. Full report available by request.
Based on research presented in McLeod C, Quirke W, Koehoorn M. Evaluation of the effect of an audit-based occupational health and safety recognition program on firm work-injury rates in British Columbia, Canada. Final Report to WorkSafeBC. Vancouver: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety; 2015.

Contact: Chris McLeod

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School of Population and Public Health
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Tel: 604-822-2772
Partnership for Work, Health and Safety
2206 East Mall,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3, Canada
Tel: 604-822-8544

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