Workers Health & Safety Centre

IWH issues report on leading indicators

A report by Ontario’s Institute for Work & Health (IWH) supports ongoing efforts to identify and measure workplace risk factors that may help predict and potentially prevent occupational injuries and illnesses.
The issue briefing, Developing leading indicators of work injury and illness, is part of the IWH’s work to develop leading indicators—characteristics of the workplace (not the worker) that, if changed, could improve health and safety conditions.
Traditionally, lagging or trailing indicators, such as lost time injury rates, have been used to measure health and safety performance.
The IWH reviewed research on potential leading indicators including: safety culture (shared values and beliefs), safety climate (employee perceptions), joint health and safety committees, organizational policies and practices, and occupational health and safety management systems.
From their research review, the IWH report finds, “JHSCs are a core component of any internal responsibility system, and should be a core component of any set of measures intended to capture leading indicators.”
The literature on organizational policies and practices also suggests, “Characteristics of the company environment, including management style, predicted workers’ compensation claims rates, as did elements of the safety program such as active safety leadership.”
There was insufficient or inconsistent research to support safety culture, safety climate and health and safety management systems as effective leading indicators.
Want to learn more about IWH's research efforts on leading indicators?
Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) offers a range of training programs designed to help all workplace parties better understand their duties and responsibilities under the Act, including training for joint health and safety committees. 
Want to learn more about WHSC training and information services?
Call:   1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak with training services representative