March 5, 2014 – We are pleased to announce that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), through HealthForceOntario, will provide Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA) with funding for the Health and Safety Climate Assessment Project. The goal of this project is to assess the health and safety climate and culture of four organizations across Ontario’s healthcare system.

This is a groundbreaking and important initiative. Research shows that a positive organizational health and safety culture is associated with lower workplace injury and illness rates as well as other positive organizational outcomes.

This project builds on previous work also funded by the MOHLTC through HealthForceOntario, which involved broad stakeholder consultation and led to the development of a set of core, consensus-based healthy and safe workplace indicators for Ontario’s publicly funded community and healthcare organizations. PSHSA’s Health and Safety Climate Assessment Project focuses on further developing one of the key indicators of the previous project: employee engagement climate. The development of a culture of health and safety is the key to preventing occupational injuries and illnesses and we believe the climate assessment tool will assist organizations to further understand the dimensions of health and safety climate and culture.

The Health and Safety Climate Assessment Tool (HSCAT) was developed in the United Kingdom and has been successfully used to assess the health and safety culture of organizations in high-risk environments. The purpose of the assessment is to identify current perceptions held by the organizations’ workforce. It provides a snapshot of the state of contributing factors that play a role in affecting the organization’s culture, which influence the way people behave and how they think and feel about health and safety issues. The immediate benefits include the profiling of the health and safety climate of organizations and the action planning that the profile allows.

For this project, PSHSA will conduct health and safety climate assessments at four organizations representing stakeholders across the healthcare system – an acute care health facility, a community care organization, a long-term care home and a public health unit. Following the implementation, PSHSA consultants will present the finding to each client along with recommendations for maintaining or improving their health and safety culture. The combined results of the project will be used to determine if there are efficiencies in the implementation of the tool as well as opportunities for future implementations. We expect the project outcomes to be posted by Spring 2014 to http://www.healthyworkenvironments.ca/health-and-safety-climate-assessment-project.

Many organizations are aware of the value in knowing and understanding their safety climate. Our goal at PSHSA is to deliver this message to as many organizations as possible. We are excited to receive the funding for this project and grateful to the MOHLTC for allowing us to further explore this opportunity to improve organizational health and safety cultures in organizations across Ontario.