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An international study on the best practices for OSH policy evaluation.

How to evaluate your OSH impact? How to prove that OSH research organisations contribute to prevention?

The effectiveness of prevention measures is an increasingly important issue for all prevention organisations. Therefore, INRS has decided to look into this subject with its foreign counterparts (IRSST-Québec, NIOSH-USA, DGUV-Germany, AUVA-Austria) within the International Social Security Association (ISSA) Research Committee which it chairs.

INRS, AUVA, DGUV, IRSST, IWH and NIOSH, are six OSH organisations that have endorsed a common mission: ensure better working conditions by improving the prevention of occupational injury and ill-health like many other OSH organisations all over the world.


The six OSH institutes decided to communicate more broadly on the added value of their organisations and on the positive societal impact of their actions by delineating their best practices in policy, strategy and programme evaluation. They have conducted a study on the best practices for OSH policy evaluation, coordinated by INRS.


For a long period of time, these institutes have been continuously conducting investigations and enquiries to prove the quality and efficacy of specific research, training programmes, brochures, communication programmes, etc. But while good levels of efficacy and quality are important and necessary to obtain the intended outcomes, they are not sufficient to prove the real contribution to better health and safety at work.


Therefore, these institutions looked into how to introduce a methodology that could be shared and supported by the whole organisation as a strategic decision to continuously evaluate and improve the impact of their policy, strategy and programs on health and safety at work.


Each institute developed its own approach for evaluating its policy and its societal impact, with, for five of them, the support of external expertise. None of them had any obligation to conduct such an evaluation, but they all felt strongly accountable for the resources their institute received and desired to assess the efficacy and efficiency of their policies in improving occupational health and safety.


This document aims to explain that conducting evaluation of a policy, strategy, programme or campaign is different from conducting investigations and enquiries to prove the quality and the efficacy of research, a service or a product. It aims to demonstrate that evaluation is an overall process that relies on analysis of data and a set of enquiries to write a complete report answering questions according to selected criteria, analysing expected and unexpected impact and proposing a path to improve it.


A document, resulting from this study, demonstrates that the OSH institutes have developed substantially similar approaches to enable them to collect convincing and conclusive information and conduct an overall assessment that demonstrates the relevance and the impact of their activities toward reducing hazardous exposures and work-related ill-health, injuries and fatalities. These similar approaches rely on a common methodology which is also explained and described in the document.

INRS organised together with its partner a workshop “Do you want to evaluate your OSH impact? Come share with us!” during the XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Singapore in September 2017 to share the first results of the study. During this workshop, experts spoke about how to evaluate the tools and methodology involved and the purposes and benefits of evaluation. They gave feedback on their own experiences and best practices.


Download the study

Last update on 13/03/2018