IDRL 308
Occupational Health and Safety (OCW_Rev. C6)


IDRL 308
Occupational Health and Safety (OCW_Rev. C6)

Study Guide

Unit 3 – Workplace Interventions

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In addition to identifying and control workplace hazards, OHS practitioners engage in a variety of other organizational activities designed to prevent and respond to injuries and ill health. Interventions such as training, behaviour modification, emergency planning, incident investigation, and disability management round out the OHS function.

Training is often cast as a panacea for all manner of organizational problems, including injuries. This perspective tends to attribute all problems to ignorance and miscommunication. While this is sometimes the case, workers and employers can also have conflicting interests—an issue that training (and communications, more broadly) cannot resolve. In reading about these interventions, keep in mind that the interests of employers and workers are not always perfectly aligned, and this can lead to conflict and resistance.

Men and women wearing hard hats and flotation vests work on a bridge over a river that includes a light-rail system with a mobile unit on the tracks. The workers are removing a section of the bridge.

Emergency preparedness exercise. Team New Orleans, US Army Corps of Engineers, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

After completing this unit, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. What factors affect the effectiveness of training?
  2. Can safety be improved by modifying workers’ behaviours? What are the risks of this approach?
  3. What are the challenges associated with emergency planning?
  4. What is the purpose of and what are the steps in incident investigation?
  5. What conflicts underlie disability management programs?
  6. Why might workers and employers have different perspectives on return to work programs?