IWH’s OHS Vulnerability Measure identifies workers’ risk levels

Toronto – A free online resource from the Institute for Work & Health allows employers to measure workers’ vulnerability to occupational health and safety risks.

IWH’s OHS Vulnerability Measure assesses workers’ risk levels in the areas of hazard exposure, workplace policies and procedures, worker awareness of hazards, and worker empowerment to take part in preventing injuries and illnesses.

The tool could be particularly timely, according to IWH. A recent study from the organization determined that workers who feel “vulnerable” to – or not adequately protected from – safety hazards report higher rates of occupational injuries. Researchers surveyed about 1,500 Canadian workers and concluded that workers deemed “most vulnerable” were 3.5 times to 4.5 times more likely to report being injured than the “least vulnerable workers.”

Employers should look to control or eliminate hazards whenever possible, IWH states. However, the vulnerability measure could boost protections for workplaces where the hazard is difficult to eliminate.

“The study suggests that IWH’s OHS Vulnerability Measure meaningfully assesses workplace hazards and OHS program shortcomings that are associated with the frequency of work injuries and, if addressed, will likely result in fewer work-related injuries and illnesses down the road,” Morgan Lay, IWH research associate and lead author of the study, said in a press release. “In this respect, the measure can help to identify potential risk reduction strategies before work-related injuries and illnesses occur.”

The study was published Jan. 13 in the journal Safety Science.

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