Objectives To determine if inspections by the workplace safety regulator (WorkSafeBC) in the Canadian Province of British Columbia are associated with a reduction in firm injury rates.
Method Injury, inspection, and claims data collected by WorkSafeBC were analysed to determine the lost-time rates for all single-location firms that had been in operation in British Columbia for at least four years between the years of 2001 and 2011. Log-linear generalised estimating equations analyses were conducted to examine the effect of a workplace inspection on the change in injury rates between the year of inspection and the following year. Models were adjusted for time and sector.
Results 74 510 firms met the eligibility criteria, with about 3% of firms per year experiencing an inspection, over the time period of 2001 to 2008. The ratio of firms inspected varied by sector, for example, about 8% of primary resources firms were inspected per year during this same period. Inspected firms had a higher injury rate (10 SLF claims per 100 FTE annually) compared to non-inspected firms (4 claims per 100 FTE).
Through GEE analyses, it was found that an inspection reduced injuries (beta coeff= -0.0048 (-0.0067, -0.0029)) in the year following an inspection. The effect was greater for larger (>=10FTE) (beta coeff=-0.015 (-0.021, -0.009)) versus smaller firms (<10FTE) (beta coeff= -0.0067 (-0.0094, -0.0040)).
Conclusions These results suggest that inspections do have injury prevention effects, and the differing effects by firm characteristics may indicate the opportunity to target firms according to the most appropriate intervention.
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