Estimating the financial benefits of OHS prevention expenditures: a study of Ontario employers

Reasons for the study

In 2017, an IWH project team completed a cross-sectional survey of a broadly representative sample of 370 employers in the province of Ontario to obtain estimates of firm-level occupational health and safety (OHS) prevention expenditures. Across all participating firms, the average OHS prevention expenditure per worker per year was estimated to be approximately $1,400.

No information is currently available in Ontario that describes employers' assessment of the financial benefits of these OHS prevention expenditures. To estimate employers' assessments of the financial benefits of OHS prevention expenditures, an IWH research team will conduct a cross-sectional survey and facilitate consensus decisions in a sample of 80 to 100 employers in Ontario.

In each participating firm, the team will recruit three senior officials to participate in the project's data collection activities: the senior official responsible for health and safety, a senior director of human resource policies and a senior director of the firm's financial management. The research team will convene a consensus meeting of the three senior officials in the firm to review the firm-level prevention expenditure estimates and facilitate a discussion to obtain the firm’s consensus estimate of the tangible and intangible benefits of prevention. In the final phase of the project, the team will calculate a return-on-investment (ROI) estimate for each participating firm (i.e. estimated financial benefits / prevention expenditures).

Objectives of the study

  • To recruit 80 to 100 Ontario employers to participate in a consensus-based deliberation to obtain the employer’s estimate of the tangible and intangible financial benefits of OHS prevention expenditures
  • To calculate an average estimated ‘return on investment’ for Ontario employers’ expenditures on OHS prevention

Target audience

The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, the Ontario Ministry of Labour and Ontario's health and safety associations are expected to be interested in the findings from this project.

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Project status

Completed 2022

Research team

Funded by

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario