Workers Health & Safety Centre

Inspecting workplaces and issuing penalties leads to lower injuries

Inspecting workplaces and issuing penalties leads to lower injuries
A systematic review of studies from 1990 through 2013 has determined regulatory health and safety inspections leading to fines or other penalties reduce work-related injuries.
This same review conducted by Toronto-based Institute for Work and Health (IWH) researchers found moderate evidence that inspections without penalties have no effect on reducing injuries.
“What this shows is employers do take steps to prevent work-related injuries for employees when there are direct consequences to them,” says Dr. Emile Tompa, IWA senior scientist and lead author of this review.
The study also found evidence that consultative activity as a means of enforcement has no effect on injuries.
In summarizing these findings, Tompa suggests employer awareness about the financial implications of non-compliance or making information public about employers that don’t comply may help encourage other employers to comply with their many legal obligations toward safer workplaces.
These findings were similar to those uncovered in a previous systematic review also led by Tompa looking at studies from 1970 to 2003.
Want to know more about the systematic review?
For our part the WHSC offers a wide range of training programs and resources to help employers and other workplace parties better understand their extensive legal obligations relating to the protection of worker health and safety.
To learn more:
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