Leading OHS indicators

Occupational health and safety (OHS) leading indicators are performance measures that help predict injuries and illnesses, allowing workplaces and system partners to gauge an organization’s health and safety climate, culture and performance before injuries and illnesses occur. Their opposite is lagging indicators such as injury and claims rates, which measure performance based on injuries and illnesses that have already occurred. IWH research focuses on finding and validating the measures that will accurately gauge the likelihood of an organization’s future OHS performance, as well as the best way to use leading indicators to prevent future work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths.

Excellence written on road way
Impact case study

WSIB includes Institute safety culture tool in Health and Safety Excellence Program

Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board made a modified version of an Institute safety culture tool called the IWH-OPM available to firms as a voluntary component of participating in its Health and Safety Excellence Program.
Published: March 2022
A hard hat, placed next to a check list, against a black background
At Work article

Can an eight-item questionnaire pick up on real-world differences in OHS practice?

How well can a set of eight questions capture something as broad and multi-faceted as an organization’s OHS policies and practices? An IWH study examines practices and policies at organizations that had completed the IWH-OPM. It finds consistent patterns in how high- and medium-scorers approach OHS.
Published: February 2020
A bird's eye view of a construction work site
At Work article

Construction safety association develops OHS assessment tool with IWH’s expertise

Building construction employers in Manitoba can now use an evidence-based online dashboard to assess their OHS performance⁠—and see how it stacks up against those of industry peers⁠—thanks to a collaboration between IWH and a sector safety association.
Published: July 2019
Top-down view of a desk with a clipboard and a report
Research Highlights

How do OHS leaders use health and safety benchmarking?

Workplace health and safety leaders use benchmarking reports on health and safety performance to help inform decision-making and improve occupational health and safety performance. That's according to an interview-based study of OHS leaders who took part in an IWH leading indicators research project.
Published: July 2019
Graphic of gears indicating meshing of workplace and culture
At Work article

What research can do: SAFE Work Manitoba incorporates IWH tool into safety culture framework

They had a five-year plan with initiatives related to building a culture of safety across Manitoba. But they were missing a definition of safety culture—and a way to measure it. That was when SAFE Work Manitoba turned to IWH expertise.
Published: February 2019
Graphic of gears indicating meshing of workplace and culture
Impact case study

Safety culture framework in Manitoba incorporates IWH expertise, tools

SAFE Work Manitoba incorporated IWH expertise and tools into the framework of its ambitious safety culture initiative, which aims to make workplace injury prevention a genuine priority among all segments of the population across the province.
Published: November 2018

Identifying relevant OHS leading indicators in Manitoba's construction sector

IWH is collaborating with the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba (CSAM) to identify relevant leading indicators of injury and illness in the province’s construction sector, and to encourage their use through tools that creates a conversation about best practices in the sector.
Status: Completed 2019
Sawmill in B.C.
Impact case study

IWH eight-item tool helping WorkSafeBC assess workplace cultures, interact with employers

The IWH Organizational Performance Metric (IWH-OPM) helps WorksafeBC act on a review recommendation to assess safety culture in the province's workplaces.
Published: December 2016
Illustration of man in suits staring at question marks
At Work article

OPM follow-up questions now available to help firms act on leading indicator scores

IWH and Ontario's health and safety associations collaborate to create follow-up questions to IWH-OPM score results.
Published: April 2016