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
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.
Related research summaries
- Estimating the financial return on employers’ investments in the prevention of work injuries in Ontario. Issue Briefing: Institute for Work & Health, May 2022.
Related scientific publications
- Mustard C, Yanar B. Estimating the financial benefits of employers' occupational health and safety expenditures. Safety Science. 2023;159:106008. doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2022.106008. (Open access)
Related interviews and articles
- IWH estimates point to positive return on OHS investment in three Ontario sectors. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 109, Summer 2022.
- Study finds positive ROI in workplace safety and health in three key sectors. Safety+Health. June 1, 2022.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario