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Disease and injury surveillance II


H. S. Shannon1,2, C. A. Smith1, S. S. Geldart1, L. Lohfeld1.1McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada; 2Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Canada

Introduction: Causal attributions of work injuries are controversial, yet they are important because they form the basis for interventions. Our aim was to understand the attributions made by those with different roles in firms. Using attribution and other theory from psychology, we hypothesised that worker representatives would be less likely than management respondents to make attributions to worker causes and more likely to consider management causes. We also anticipated that workplaces with lower injury rates would be less likely to specify worker causes and more likely to list management causes.

Methods: We conducted a survey in Ontario workplaces, soliciting data from the senior managers (SM) and from the management (MC) and worker co-chairs (WC) of the workplaces’ joint health and safety committees. Workplaces were classified as having high, medium, or low injury rates relative to the average for their industry. In one item, we asked “What are the main causes of workplace accidents?” and allowed for three responses. We coded the responses and classified them according to whether they indicated management or worker causes, work environment, nature of work or type of injury. (The last category was added as some respondents simply listed examples of types of injury.) We compared the answers from the different types of respondents.

Results: As anticipated, management was more likely than the worker co-chair to make at least one attribution to worker causes (SM: 74%, MC: 71%, WC: 62%; χ2 = 9.2 on 2 df, p = 0.01). There were also differences in attribution to the work environment (SM: 18%, MC: 27%, WC: 31%; χ2 = 11.9 on 2 df, p = 0.003). However, there were only …

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