Health and Safety Index

How safe are Ontario’s workplaces and are they getting safer?


2018 score

1.6 green arrow up

This score indicates an improvement in the health and safety of Ontario's workplaces.

It’s a simple, single measure. Our health and safety index combines multiple performance indicators of health and safety into a single, evidence-based measure. This measure, or score, raises awareness and helps system partners focus their health and safety efforts and resources.

2018 Score insights



-2.7% red arrow down

Safety support and prevention activities metrics were both positive, but a decrease in the number of inspections caused prevention to be negative overall.


Workplace culture

-0.1% red arrow down

All three areas were flat to last year with a small overall decrease in the people’s awareness of legislation



-1.5% red arrow down

The improvement in the number of severe injuries was not enough to overcome the negative performance of the other injuries metrics, particularly the return-to-work outcomes for people at 30 days after injury.



13.2% green arrow up

Positive scores in all three areas created the highest score on the index and made empowerment a major driver of the overall positive score.



4.1% green arrow up

Improvements in all three areas created a positive score.


2018 Top five industry scores


3.7% white arrow up

Strength: Prevention, workplace culture

Focus on: Addressing injuries, specifically supporting people in early return to work.

Construction saw the biggest improvement of all industries. This was driven by strong performance in all areas except for injuries. Of particular importance are the decrease in the number of severe injuries (the one area of injuries that showed improvement) and the increase in workplace prevention activities and safety support.


1.8% white arrow up

Strength: Workplace culture

Focus on: Addressing injuries, specifically supporting people in early return to work.

Manufacturing had the highest score of all industries in workplace culture, with all areas including leadership and awareness of legislation helping to keep people safe. Strong workplace culture also impacted prevention. Lower inspection numbers and poor performance in supporting return-to-work efforts kept manufacturing from outperforming other industries.

Health care and social services

-0.9% white arrow up

Strength: Injuries

Focus on: Prevention and the involvement of people in health and safety system.

Health care and social services was the only sector to see a decrease in the performance of their health and safety system. This was largely due to weakening of the internal responsibility systems with both employees and leadership being less involved in the health and safety systems. Health care and social services also saw the biggest decrease in the number of inspections, further impacting prevention scores.

Retail Trade

1.5% white arrow up

Strength: Employee involvement, supporting early return to work for people with injuries

Focus on: Workplace culture

Poor performance in prevention and workplace culture led retail trade to see less improvement than the provincial average. Retail trade performed well in supporting early return to work – an area that was problematic for all industries. It had the highest involvement score, an area in which construction and manufacturing also performed well.

Transportation and Warehousing

3.1% white arrow up

Strength: Injuries, enforcement

Focus on: Workplace culture, empowerment

With the second highest score behind construction, transportation and warehousing was able to keep its score high with the best overall outcomes in injuries – a difficult area for most industries. These results were driven by strong enforcement outcomes.


Measuring health and safety

Rather than measuring health and safety in individual workplaces, the index looks at Ontario as a whole. 
To measure overall health and safety, we look at five components:

Prevention - what is done to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses, like avoiding unnecessary risks and following health and safety rules
Empowerment - how people are involved in keeping workplaces healthy and safe
Workplace culture - how employees think about the priority placed on health and safety where they work
Enforcement - the fines, orders and convictions for poor health and safety practices
Injuries - the injuries that occur and how often, how long it takes people to get back to work, and the severity of the injuries, including loss of life.

PreventionWorker EmpowermentWorkplace cultureEnforcementInjuries
Group,OverallWeight,DrillDown, Measure,InternalWeight, Measure,InternalWeight,Measure,InternalWeight, Prevention,24,1,inspections,27,work activities,48, work support,25 Empowerment,10,2,complaints,39,work involvement,32, work refusals,29 Culture,40,3,awareness of legislation,44,work culture,28, work leadership,28 Enforcement,15,4,convictions,5,fines,45, orders,50 Severity,11,5,injuries,27,on benefits for 30 days,24, severity,37

How it all adds up

The components are scored based on workplace health and safety data covering almost every sector of Ontario’s economy. Each component is weighted in relation to the others, and the five scores are added up to reach the single index measure.

The Index will track yearly change in Ontario’s overall workplace health and safety, and will be updated annually.

Because some index data did not exist before 2016, overall change from 2016 to 2017 cannot be measured, so the first single index number published is in 2018.

For details about the methodology and rationale behind the index, please read the Technical Paper.

Weights were derived from the data that had been collected to date. In accordance with best practice, weighting will be recalculated prior to launch in 2018.