Estimating the financial benefits of OHS spending: a study of Ontario employers

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Cameron Mustard
Institute for Work & Health

Basak Yanar
Institute for Work & Health

In high-income countries, employer spending on occupational health and safety (OHS) can be substantial. But what are the financial benefits of these expenditures? An Institute for Work & Health (IWH) team recently developed and applied a transparent methodology to estimate the return on investment (ROI) of OHS spending for Ontario employers. In this presentation, IWH Associate Scientist Dr. Basak Yanar and IWH Adjunct Scientist Dr. Cameron Mustard, also former IWH president and senior scientist, share the methodology they used to arrive at the ROI estimates in three important economic sectors: construction, transportation and manufacturing.

The team’s method builds on three phases: establishing an accurate estimate of the average direct cost of disabling work injury or illness; identifying employers in the construction, transportation and manufacturing sectors with a low incidence of work-related injury and illness; and applying a set of plausible assumptions to estimate the financial benefits of OHS expenditures in this sample of employers with strong OHS performance. The presenters share the ROI estimates they arrive at with this methodology and discuss how these compare with other findings from research in this field.

About presenter

Dr. Cameron Mustard is the former president and senior scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, retiring in January 2022 after 20 years in the position. He continues his affiliation with the Institute, leading a number of active research projects. Mustard is also a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Mustard's research interests include work environments, labour market experiences and health, the distributional equity of publicly funded health and health care programs in Canada, and the epidemiology of socioeconomic health inequalities across the human life course.

Dr. Basak Yanar is an associate scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, and an assistant professor in the division of Social and Behavioural Health Sciences in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She holds a PhD in organizational behaviour from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Yanar’s research interests lie at the intersection of migration, work, and occupational health and safety (OHS). As a social scientist with disciplinary training in organizational behaviour, Yanar is also interested in the psychosocial work environment and the ways organizations can promote healthier and safer workplaces. Yanar is a qualitative researcher with a keen interest in collaboration with community organizations, employers and system partners in developing solutions to improve the health and safety of workers.

About IWH Speaker Series

The IWH Speaker Series brings you the latest findings from work and health researchers from the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and beyond. For those unable to attend, the recorded webinar of most presentations in the IWH Speaker Series are made available on its web page within a week of the event.