Ontario’s employers have improved their safety by 1.6 per cent compared to last year, according to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
The WSIB launched the Health and Safety Index in May 2017 to start tracking the overall health and safety of Ontario’s workplaces. The index compiles data on prevention, empowerment, workplace culture, enforcement and injuries and combines the areas into a single measure.
“Better intelligence leads to better outcomes,” said Christina Hoy, vice-president, corporate business information and analytics at WSIB. “Using this measure, we have the opportunity to raise awareness, highlight issues using evidence-based data and help our system partners focus their health and safety efforts and resources where they’re needed the most.”
The top performing area on the index this year was "empowerment," improving by 13.2 per cent since 2017. This includes refusals of unsafe work, complaints and employee involvement in health and safety practices.
“This data supports underlying research demonstrating that a person’s ability to bring up safety issues speaks highly of their ability to participate in the workplace’s health and safety program and culture,” WSIB said.
Enforcement — which includes fines, orders and convictions — came in second, with an increase of 4.1 per cent. Some areas with lower scores include workplace safety and awareness culture, injuries and prevention.
Tracked over time and broken down by industry type, the index also reveals individual scores for Ontario’s construction, manufacturing, health care and social services, retail trade, and transportation and warehousing industries.
Ontario’s construction industry experienced the biggest improvement overall (3.7 per cent), driven by a strong performance in all areas, especially in prevention and workplace culture. Health care and social services was the only sector to see a decrease in the performance of their health and safety system. This indicates a weakening of the internal responsibility system — as indicated by all drivers of workplace culture — with both employees and leadership being less involved in workplace health and safety processes, WSIB said.