A review of social marketing campaigns in occupational injury, disease or disability prevention


Mustard C, Bielecky A



Workers' compensation boards in Canada have provided leadership in social marketing aimed at improving the prevention of occupational injury, disease and disability. Typical annual expenditures in this area are in the range of $100 per 100 workers, and improving the effectiveness of social marketing efforts is an important program objective. In order to assess the relevant research evidence, this project systematically reviewed published evaluation and research studies on occupational health and safety social marketing campaigns.

Key findings

  • Campaigns based exclusively on mass media communications do not appear to be as effective in reducing the incidence of work-related injury, disease or disability as campaigns that integrate public communications strategies with companion programs involving consultation services, inspection and enforcement, or education and training.
  • Additional factors that appear to be related to effectiveness are:
    • Having sufficient resources to reach the target audience and provide for sustained target audience exposure to the campaign.
    • Focusing on specific hazards and risks rather than on general awareness.
  • Because few studies reported the economic costs or economic value of campaign outcomes, there was not enough information to conduct a cost-effective analysis of social marketing campaigns in occupational health.


There is a lack of high quality evidence relating to the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of social marketing campaigns. The researchers recommend that future investments in social marketing campaigns include resources to support high quality evaluations.

*text adapted with permission from WorkSafeBC.