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Voluntary health and safety programs are now a common programmatic approach that health and safety regulators use to promote health and safety in the workplace. These programs may include education and training, performance evaluation, and OHS audits. Audit-based voluntary programs that provide firms meeting specific OHS audit criteria with rebates on workers’ compensation premiums to firms meeting a specific OHS audit criteria are now in place in many Canadian provinces. In British Columbia, in 2003, WorkSafeBC introduced an OHS certificate of recognition program that is now available across multiple industrial sectors including forestry, construction, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing.
This presentation provides results of an impact evaluation of OHS certification on firm injury rates during the years 2003 to 2012. It highlights the theoretical and practical challenges of program evaluation where program participation is voluntary. On average, firms that met the OHS certification standard, had 12% to 17% fewer compensation claims than similar non-certified firms. This suggests that the OHS certification audit process in British Columbia is effective at identifying firms with lower work injury risk.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of Public Health Ontario, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by Public Health Ontario.
Presenter: Dr. Chris McLeod
Dr. Chris McLeod is an assistant professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, and co-lead of the School's Partnership for Work, Health and Safety. His research focuses on the program and policy evaluation of occupational health policies and practices and on the causes and consequences of work-related injury and disease. Current areas of research include an assessment of the effectiveness of occupational health and safety management systems on work injury; an examination of the etiology and outcomes of serious work-related injury; and national and international comparative work with jurisdictions in Ontario, Manitoba, Australia, and New Zealand. More broadly, Dr. McLeod’s research explores how institutional and economic structures across countries affect health and health inequalities over the working life course. His work examining the relationship between unemployment and health, supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, has been recently published in the Annual Review of Public Health and the American Journal of Public Health.
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