Workplace OHS programs and practices

Workplaces play a vital role in ensuring the well-being of workers. So knowing what occupational health and safety (OHS) practices are most effective in preventing injury and illness is essential. The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) has a long history of conducting workplace-based research to provide practical guidance to employers, workers, OHS professionals and regulators about what works and what doesn’t. This research targets the injury and illness prevention practices of workplaces, as well as the programs developed by governments, health and safety associations and others to support and motivate workplaces in adopting effective practices.

Latest news and findings

A man and a woman work together to push a trolley through a warehouse

New review sums up sex/gender differences in work injury and illness outcomes

Men and women may be part of the labour force in roughly equal proportions. But many jobs and industries are still dominated by one sex/gender or another. In that light, a new systematic review at IWH looks at how work exposures and injury/illness outcomes are different for men and women.

See what the literature says
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Widely used survey unable to isolate specific psychosocial work dimensions

Guarding Minds @ Work is a widely used survey designed to measure 13 psychosocial dimensions of the work environment that have the potential to affect worker mental health. However, a joint study by the Institute for Work & Health and Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers finds the survey unable to measure each of the 13 dimensions in isolation. This has implications for workplaces that use the measure to assess how well they are doing on specific psychosocial dimensions, such as workforce civility and respect, workload management and more, says the research team.

Read about the findings
Wooden block letters spelling out R O I, with colourful arrows pointing to them

New policy briefing: estimating the ROI of OHS spending

What’s the return-on-investment (ROI) for every dollar employers spend on occupational health and safety? A team at IWH has come up with an estimate for three Ontario sectors—manufacturing, construction and transportation—based on previous research and on Workplace Safety and Insurance Board data.

Read about the study findings
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WSIB Health & Safety Excellence Program makes use of IWH safety culture measure

A version of the IWH-Organizational Performance Metric (IWH-OPM) is used by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to let workplaces in its Health and Safety Excellence Program measure their safety culture against a benchmark. The measure also allows the compensation agency to track trends in safety culture over time among participating organizations.

Read about this use of research
A long-term care worker pushes a resident in a wheelchair down the hall

Participatory ergonomics a sustainable OHS approach in long-term care

Frontline workers know better than anyone what musculoskeletal (MSD) hazards they encounter on the job—and how to solve them. Participatory ergonomics is an occupational health and safety (OHS) approach that puts worker involvement front and centre. An IWH study led by Scientist Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd found this approach can be successfully implemented and sustained—even in busy long-term care facilities challenged by staff shortages and high turnover.

Read about the findings