Occupational Health & Safety (OHS)

SPR has been a leader in OHS research for more than 25 years. An important feature of this work has been SPR's success in balancing management and worker points of view on health and safety. Key SPR projects in occupational health & safety include:

  • Psycho-social Health and Safety in Ontario Youth Corrections Facilities: This project looked at ways to improve the health and safety climate in Ontario youth corrections facilities. The research involved a survey of 600+ correctional workers using the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) to assess risks of psychosocial injuries in all Ontario youth corrections facilities. The study recommendations were focused on large institutions (for the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services and The Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 2018-2019).

  • Child Welfare Worker Safety Technology - Best Practice Recommendations:  This follow-up to SPR's 2014 study of worker safety in Ontario Children's Aid Societies was focused on establishing recommendations on communications technology, tools, policies & procedures for safety devices and peer support to assist CAS child protection workers. The study methodology included: a scan of literature and best practices across Canada and internationally; an on-line survey of key stakeholders, to aid initial consultations with Ontario CAS's; and consultation input from joint health and safety committees and others in Ontario's 40+ CAS's, to review new initiatives. Key outputs from the study included a report on the survey findings and recommendations regarding technology and peer support for child protection workers (for the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, with funding provided by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, 2017).

  • Study of Worker Safety in Ontario Children's Aid Societies:  The goal of this study, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, was to assess the incidence of client violence experienced by CAS workers and identify ways of developing programs to reduce violence against CAS workers in the future. On-line surveys were conducted of 5,800+ CAS workers (from support staff to management) and 35 Children's Aid Societies. High-level performance indicators were developed, along with a final report containing recommendations for the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services (for the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, 2013-2014).
  • Review of the National Voluntary Standard on Psychologically Healthy Workplaces:  In response to release of this Standard in January 2013, Dr. Harvey and his team conducted a nation-wide assessment of the 'roll out' of the Standard and its impacts. The project involved close consultations with Federal agencies, The Mental Health Commission of Canada, private industry, NGOs (such as Mental Health Works and Guarding Minds@Work), and organized labour. SPR's presentations to the 14 Ministers of Labour were followed by an announcement of the intention to integrate psychological wellness into the General Duty clause for OHS (in collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Commission, 2013).
  • Evaluation of Ontario Occupational Health and Safety:  This $1.2 million study included consultations and surveys in mining, manufacturing, transportation, health, education, social services and other sectors. Benchmarking studies were conducted, including surveys of over 12,000 members of joint health and safety committees in over 3,000 workplaces. Initial work required an evaluation of Ontario's training programs in occupational health and safety. In 1992, hundreds of programs were offered by 12 health and safety bodies serving thousands of Ontario workplaces, with a budget of over $80 million. SPR's work aided establishment of Certification Training in OHS, with over 400,000 workers and managers certified as of 2019.
  • Evaluation of the International Safety Rating System (ISRS):  This study examined general managers' satisfaction and their perception of impacts of this safety audit program (on corporate management, operations, material loss, injuries and health) for over 200 Ontario corporations (for the Industrial Accident Prevention Association, 1990).