We encourage academic, nonprofit and other entities to conduct research to help us better understand the safety profession, its business value and impact on organizational sustainability.
Promoting the Value of the Profession
Our members create safe work environments by preventing workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. Sound safety practices are socially responsible and can increase productivity, boost corporate reputation and increase employee satisfaction.
ASSP elevates the value of the OSH profession by promoting evidence-based approaches to safety practices while communicating the value of safety to key stakeholders. Our goal is to demonstrate that the OSH profession and its practitioners provide a competitive advantage to today's employers.
Research Focus Areas
We have identified three focus areas of research that would better define and describe the value of the OSH profession.
- Validate the effectiveness of OSH management systems. Injury and illness prevention is the stated goal of most OSH programs, yet it is difficult to measure whether an injury or illness has been prevented as the result of an OSH program. Even if fewer injuries occur, we cannot be certain that the OSH program produced that reduction. We also know that neither lagging nor leading indicators provide a true measure of performance. Therefore, we need research that assesses the interactive effects between performance variables and the cause-and-effect relationships between leading and lagging indicators.
- Demonstrate that increasing the quality of safety interventions improves OSH outcomes and company performance. We have significant research on the quantity of interventions but much less on their quality. The OSH community needs research that examines the value of using safety professionals as well as the effectiveness of their education and credentialing. Such research would also determine whether OSH interventions create business value and enable organizations to optimize resources and better predict outcomes.
- Support a better understanding of the value of integrating overall worker wellness with OSH. Health promotion programs usually target personal health habits or activities while injury and illness prevention programs involve an employer-directed intervention. Research typically attempts to assess the effectiveness of such programs, either on a health outcome, such as the onset of a disease, or on a cost, such as medical expenditures. We are most interested in research that explores wellness as a leading indicator used to measure safety; that can provide the basis for developing safety risk profiles; and that can help establish the return on investment for the integration of wellness with OSH programs.
Additional OSH Research Priorities
Several other research issues are of interest to the safety community:
- Quantify the effectiveness of the risk assessment approach.
- Review the quality of occupational incident investigations.
- Determine ways to disseminate pertinent research to practitioners and workers in usable formats.
- Establish best approaches for OSH professionals to communicate safety and health.
- Determine effective leading indicators.
- Examine the role of culture and gender in establishing safe and health workplaces.