Identifying breakthrough firms

Finding a way to identify firms that have gone from being not-so-good to good OHS performers is one of the most important contributions of the Institute’s breakthrough change research.  The research team came up with the following process.

  • Using records from Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), the team gathered data for 2,600 firms with 75 or more employees from 1998 to 2008 and in WSIB premium rate groups with 20 or more such firms in 2008.
  • From among this group, the team identified 67 organizations that, during the 11-year period from 1998 to 2008, went from being in the bottom half of their rate group with respect to their OHS performance (i.e. having the highest workers’ compensation claim rates, including both lost-time and no-lost-time injuries) to the top 20 per cent (i.e. having the lowest claim rates).
  • Through a consensus process, the team selected from these the 32 firms whose claim rate patterns were the most convincing.
  • Finally,  to ensure that the improvement in workers’ compensation claim rates was due to purposeful OHS change—and not something else like downsizing, contracting out hazardous work or claims management—the remaining firms were called for a brief interview to find out what changed and why.

After removing those firms that didn’t respond to calls, refused to be interviewed, or couldn’t confirm the change was intentional, 12 firms were left standing as BTC firms. Therefore, according to this method, a conservative estimate is that for every 200 firms you have right now, one of them will experience BTC in the next decade, says Robson.

Source: At Work, Issue 70, Fall 2012: Institute for Work & Health, Toronto