Ontario Leading Indicators Project

Objectives of the study

The Ontario Leading Indicators Project (OLIP) was a study conducted by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) from 2011-2014 in partnership with Ontario’s health and safety associations (HSAs) to develop leading indicators of occupational health and safety (OHS) performance. The HSAs included Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), Workplace Safety North (WSN), Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA) and Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA). The aim was to identify organizational and management measures that help predict workplace injuries and illnesses, allowing workplaces and system partners to gauge health and safety performance before injuries and illnesses occur.


Researchers developed the OLIP questionnaire with input from OHS practitioners and workplace parties. The OLIP questionnaire was made up of five existing survey measures: Organizational Policies and Procedures (OPP), IWH Organizational Performance Metric (IWH-OPM), Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS), Safety Climate, and Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Index.

From 2011 to 2013, the HSAs recruited approximately 2,000 organizations to take part. The organizations were from 10 different sectors, of all firm sizes and from across all regions of Ontario. These organizations completed a 20-minute online survey, which asked about workplace health and safety policies and procedures. In return, organizations received an individual benchmarking report. In 2014, the survey was opened up to all organizations, who also subsequently received individual benchmarking reports.

Based on the responses of the 2,000 organizations, IWH was able to produce benchmarks. Because participants in the OLIP study were from a known population (i.e. firms registered with the WSIB), researchers were able to weight the data by organizational size and region to make the benchmarks representative of all organizations in the sector in Ontario. Since not all firms were equally likely to participate in OLIP, researchers used propensity scores to further make the benchmarks representative of all organizations in the sector. The propensity scores equation was developed by IWH and is unique to OLIP benchmarking results. Note that these benchmarks reflect company scores collected from 2011 to 2014.

Related scientific publications

Biswas A, Severin C, Smith PM, Steenstra I, Robson LS, Amick B. Larger workplaces, people-oriented culture, and specific industry sectors are associated with co-occurring health protection and wellness activities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2018;15(12):2739. doi:10.3390/ijerph15122739.

Related interviews and articles

Ontario firm uses OLIP to track health and safety in suppliers. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 77, Summer 2014.
New Brunswick’s WorkSafeNB adopts IWH’s safety culture yardstick. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 73, Summer 2013.

Related research summaries

Developing leading indicators of work injury and illness. Issue Briefing: Institute for Work & Health, October 2013.

Project status

Completed 2015

Research team

Ben Amick, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
Sheilah Hogg-Johnson, Institute for Work & Health
Cameron Mustard, Institute for Work & Health
Lynda Robson, Institute for Work & Health
Peter Smith, Institute for Work & Health
Ivan Steenstra, Institute for Work & Health
Colette Severin, Institute for Work & Health
Michael Swift, Institute for Work & Health
Selahadin Ibrahim, Institute for Work & Health
Sara Macdonald, Institute for Work & Health