Breakthrough change: understanding why and how workplaces make large improvements in OHS performance
Reasons for the study
We need to better understand the processes and critical factors involved in “breakthrough change” (i.e. large and intentional reductions in workplaces’ rates of injuries) in order to improve occupational health and safety (OHS) performance. Past research on change in the workplace has typically evaluated the effectiveness of narrowly defined interventions—and usually found small or no changes. In this study, three interrelated “breakthrough change” projects focused on rare occurrences of especially large OHS improvement over a decade-long period, and sought to understand the hows and whys behind this improvement.
Objectives of the study
- To determine how often breakthrough change (BTC) occurs in Ontario firms
- To identify and describe the critical success factors common across BTC firms
- To develop and test a BTC conceptual model
Related scientific publications
- Robson LS, Amick B, Moser C, Pagell M, Mansfield E, Shannon HS, Swift M, Hogg-Johnson S, Cardoso S, South H. Important factors in common among organizations making large improvement in OHS performance: results of an exploratory multiple case study. Safety Science. 2016;86:211-227. doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2016.02.023.
Related interviews and articles
- What research can do: OHS change model informs WSPS’s approach to small businesses. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 92, Spring 2018.
- Managing your OHS program: A case study on breakthrough changes in safety. OHS Insider: Bongarde Media (Penticton, BC). April 20, 2016. Available from: https://ohsinsider.com/insider-top-stories/managing-ohs-program-case-study-breakthrough-changes-safety
- New IWH study looks at why companies make big improvements. OHS Insider: Bongarde Media (Penticton, BC). March 23, 2016. Available from: https://ohsinsider.com/search-by-index/safety-programs/new-iwh-study-looks-at-why-companies-make-big-ohs-improvements
- External influences motivate firms to improve OHS performance. Canadian Occupational Safety Newswire: Thomson Reuters Canada (Toronto, ON). March 17, 2016. Available from: http://www.cos-mag.com/safety/safety-stories/4969-external-influences-motivate-firms-to-improve-ohs-performance-study.html
- External factors influence improvements in workplace safety performance: IWH study. Canadian Chiropractor: Annex Business Media (Simcoe, ON). March 14, 2016. Available from: http://www.canadianchiropractor.ca/programs/external-factors-influence-improvements-in-workplace-safety-performance-iwh-study-4342
- Success stories offer new guidance to organizations on path of OHS change . At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 78, Fall 2014.
- OHS champion has pivotal role in breakthrough change: study. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 76, Spring 2014.
- Breakthrough change: Finding and describing firms that make large OHS improvements. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 70, Fall 2012.
Business Council on Occupational Health and Safety
Infrastructure Health and Safety Association
Ontario Ministry of Labour
Public Services Health & Safety Association
Workers Health & Safety Centre
Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
Workplace Safety & Insurance Board of Ontario's Research Advisory Committee, Ontario Ministry of Labour