Understanding OHS motivations and needs in small business

Reasons for the study

Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) launched the Health and Safety Excellence Program (HSEP) in late 2019. The program aims to enrol a minimum of 4,000 Ontario employers to participate in the adoption of up to 40 health and safety best-practice elements that align to the ISO45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System.

The participation of smaller firms in the HSEP is substantially less than the proportion of all firms registered with the WSIB. While employees of smaller firms represent 26 per cent of the WSIB’s covered workforce, half of traumatic fatalities and 45 per cent of critical injuries occur in smaller businesses. To improve the participation of smaller businesses, the HSEP has adjusted several program features, with the broad objective of increasing the enrolment and participation of smaller businesses in HSEP.

This project will fulfil the commitment of the WSIB and Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) to undertake a study of small business engagement.

Objectives of the study

  • Understand the needs, motivations and experiences of small businesses in the Health and Safety Excellence Program
  • Understand effective approaches to the delivery of occupational health and safety (OHS) services to small businesses and ways to help small businesses improve OHS and build strong health and safety cultures 

Target audience

WSIB; MLITSD; Ontario's health and safety associations; small businesses in Ontario

IWH Speaker Series presentations

Project status


Research team

Collaborators and partners

Infrastructure Heath and Safety Association
Public Services Health and Safety Association
Workplace Safety North
Workplace Safety and Prevention Services

Funded by

Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development