Thirty years after OHSA: Keeping pace with the changing world of work

Design Exchange, 2nd Floor
234 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario

Michael Silverstein
University of Washington

More than 30 years ago, Ontario enacted the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA)—landmark legislation that established workers’ rights to safe working conditions and defined the responsibilities of employers to protect the health of workers. But a lot has changed in three decades, including many features of the working world.

Today’s labour force is characterized by aging workers, declining unionization, a growing number of newcomers, a decline in long-term employment relationships and an increase in independent contracting and temporary employment. As a long-time public administrator of occupational health and safety programs, Dr. Michael Silverstein will offer his views on how we might modernize our regulatory standards and practices to keep pace with the changing world of work. He will also address the challenge of using research to inform and implement occupational health and safety policies and programs.

About presenter

Dr. Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH, is a clinical professor of environmental and occupational health at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health. For eight years prior to assuming this position in January 2005, Dr. Silverstein was the assistant director of Industrial Safety and Health with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. This position included responsibility for the state’s occupational safety and health program. He previously served as the director of policy for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Washington, D.C.

Prior to these government positions, Dr. Silverstein was assistant director of the Occupational Health and Safety Department at the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union in Detroit, Michigan. He worked with the UAW for nearly 15 years on a wide range of issues.

About the Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture

The annual Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture honours the significant contribution of Dr. Alf Nachemson to the use of research evidence in clinical decision-making. Dr. Nachemson was a distinguished orthopaedic surgeon and researcher from Sweden, and a founding member of the Institute for Work & Health’s Scientific Advisory Committee.  The lectureship is awarded to a prominent national or international individual who has made a significant and unique contribution to evidence-based practice or policy-making in the prevention of work-related injury, illness or disability.