Presentation T P19

T P19 (Poster Presentation):
Distribution of disability management policies and practices in a representative sample of employers in Ontario, Canada

Presented by: Colette Severin


Amick III BC1,2, Hogg-Johnson S1, Severin CN1, Smith P1, Steenstra I1, Swift M1, Ibrahim S1, Robson L1, Mustard C1

  1. Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Canada
  2. Florida International University, Miami, USA



While companies talk about the importance of management and organizational initiatives, such as the presence of a strong safety culture or disability management system to promote good occupational health and safety (OHS) and disability management systems (DMS) there is little scientific evidence to support which leading indicators, among many, to use. There is little evidence on the distribution of disability management systems across industrial sectors and firm size, and whether disability policies and practices co-vary with businesses with strong safety cultures.


A random selection of organizations registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) were recruited in collaboration with the Ontario Health and Safety Associations (HSA). The sample was representative of all sectors except forestry and mining. Participants completed an online questionnaire about their firms’ organizational policies and practices (OPP), using the organizational policies and practices questionnaire. The disability policy and practice (DPP) scale was measured with seven items. Firm survey data was linked to their WSIB claims data.


A sample of over 1,900 firms completed an on-line questionnaire. The disability policy and practice (DPP) scale has strong internal consistency (α= 0.92) and test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.84), and reasonable structural validity (CHISQ=1462, df= 311, p< 0.0001, CFI= 0.93, TLI= 0.92, RMSEA (95% CI)= 0.048 (0.046, 0.051)). While it was expected that the DPP scale would co-vary with injuries and illnesses in a negative way, it was positive, suggesting that organizations with problematic workers compensation claims rates implement DPPs to redress these problems. How the DPP scale co-varies with the other OPP scales and by industrial sector will be reported.


This is the first study to report the variability in DPPs at the organizational level in a representative sample of firms in a jurisdiction. The DPP scale is shown to have high reliability and validity and may represent a useful leading indicator for jurisdictions interested in managing sustainable return to work. The DPP does not always co-vary in accordance with other OPP scales for managing occupational health & safety in an organization which has implications for benchmarking.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
12:45 - 13:45 Poster Viewing
Session: Disability management