Addressing literacy and numeracy gaps among workers in an OHS training program: a pilot study

Reasons for the study

Workers with poor literacy and numeracy skills may find it difficult to understand and apply occupational health and safety (OHS) training, potentially resulting in injuries and illnesses. This study developed, implemented and evaluated a pilot OHS training program to improve outcomes for workers with essential skills gaps. The project team embedded essential skills training into the curriculum of a hoisting and rigging safety training program developed by the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) and delivered by Local 506 of the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA). The Institute for Work & Health then assessed the impact of the program.

Objectives of the study

  • To determine the extent to which a redesigned curriculum that addresses essential skills gaps improves learning of the health and safety content and adherence to safe practices
  • To understand the experiences of trainees and instructors involved with the redesigned program in order to improve the process of modifying OHS training programs to address gaps in essential skills

Related interviews and articles

IWH Speaker Series presentations

Project status

Completed 2017

Research team

  • Ron Saunders, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Curtis Breslin, Institute for Work & Health
  • Siobhan Cardoso, Institute for Work & Health
  • Karen Myers, Blueprint ADE
  • Morgane Le PouĂ©sard, Institute for Work & Health

Collaborators and partners

LiUNA Local 506 Training Centre
Infrastructure Health & Safety Association

Funded by

Ontario Ministry of Labour's Research Opportunities Program, Max Bell Foundation