It’s no secret that not all workplaces and job-tasks are created equal in terms of health and safety.
In a world where prevention is the goal, we need measures to help regulators and employers identify groups of workers, or types of workplaces that are at greater risk of harm. This allows preventive strategies to be put in place to reduce these risks, to ultimately reduce the number of future injuries and illnesses.
‘Leading indicators’ are aspects of workplace activities that contribute to risk of future injury or illness. They are a predictive measurement, whereas lagging indicators are measurements of output, such as the number of injury claims made at a workplace.
WorkSafe Victoria and Roy Morgan worked with Professor Alex Collie’s Healthy Working Lives group at Monash University to co-design a questionnaire to assess five existing measures of leading indicators of work health and safety.
The proportion of Victorian workers rated as being at high-risk for future workplace injury or illness varied between 25% and 36%, depending on the leading indicator measure used to assess risk.
Workers who were more likely to be rated as low to moderate risk included those who: were a business owner; worked for a single employer; worked in professional, scientific and technical services industry; or had higher levels of education.
The analyses were designed to identify appropriate leading indicator measures and propose a refined version of the questionnaire that can be used in future to identify characteristics of workers and workplaces at higher risk of future work-related injury or illness.