New software tool measures benefits and costs of OHS initiatives

July 22, 2010 (Toronto, Ontario) – The Institute for Work & Health has released a free software tool called the Health & Safety Smart Planner to help workplaces understand the full benefits and costs of their health and safety initiatives.

Health and safety planning should be based on a thorough analysis of all the benefits and costs associated with an initiative. This can be a challenge for workplaces to undertake, says Dr. Emile Tompa, an IWH scientist and economist who led the software development. In the Health & Safety Smart Planner, we’ve tried to build sound economic principles into a format that’s easy to use.

The up-front costs of occupational health and safety (OHS) initiatives can deter firms from investing in them. Yet the overall benefits – such as lower injury rates or productivity gains – may outweigh these costs over time.

Through other research projects, we realized that workplaces and other interested parties lack guidance on how to conduct this type of evaluation, even though it provides valuable information on the resource implications of an OHS intervention, says Tompa.

The software has three sections.

Do Your Own Analysis enables workplaces to calculate the benefits and costs of safety initiatives.
Incident Cost Calculator records the ongoing costs of health and safety incidents.
About H&S Smart Planning provides detailed help explaining how to use the software, with examples.

It also offers the following features:

  • A step-by-step approach
  • Pre-planning information to help get organized before entering data
  • Pop-up buttons that explain each field as data is entered
  • A database to store and update a company’s information
  • A summary sheet for planning and decision-making
  • The ability to save information locally and customize the file by company name.

This version was funded by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s (WSIB’s) Research Advisory Council. This first release of the H&S Smart Planner will work for most Ontario workplaces, and has calculations for WSIB’s New Experimental Experience Rating (NEER) or Merit-Adjusted Premium (MAP) programs. Other versions are being developed for British Columbia and Manitoba.

The Health & Safety Smart Planner is available to download from: www.iwh.on.ca/smart-planner.

About the Institute for Work & Health

IWH is an independent, not-for-profit research organization that aims to protect and improve the health of working people. Recognized as one of the top five occupational health and safety research centres in the world, the Institute provides practical and relevant findings on the prevention of work injury and disability to policy-makers, workers, employers, clinicians, and health, safety and disability management professionals.

Media contacts

Cindy Moser 
Communications Manager
Institute for Work & Health
416-927-2027, ext. 2183
cmoser@iwh.on.ca

Uyen Vu
Communications Associate
Institute for Work & Health
613-979-7742
uvu@iwh.on.ca