may have biased the findings; one major confounder would have been a change in workers’ compensation administration and they mention that over the study period there was a shift to the New Experimental Experience Rating (NEER) system in Ontario but that only one rate group (plastics) entered the program. The reviewers also identified some weaknesses in the statistical analysis and reporting, potential for selection bias, as well as the possibility of the effect of confounding variables.
4.4.4 Studies of economic outcomes One of the studies of mandatory OHSMSs reported economic outcomes (Dufour et al., 1998).
The Dufour et al. (1998) study was conducted to determine what impacts, if any, did environmental and OHS regulations have on the rate of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in the Quebec manufacturing sector during the 1985 to 1988 period. As discussed previously, OHS legislation in 1979, Loi sur la santé et la sécurité du travail (LSST), resulted in the creation of CSST in 1980. The CSST had been innovative in the adoption of safety policies that included compulsory prevention programs, the right to refuse dangerous work, and protective reassignment. In addition to the study’s broad aim to determine the overall effects of Quebec OHS regulations on TFG growth, the study also addressed the possible impacts of these specific OHS policies as well as the level of regulatory compliance activity.
Dufour et al. (1998) presented a theoretical discussion of the expected impact of OHS and environmental regulations on TFP growth. They pointed out that previous analyses of this type were more limited in terms of the variables included and did not allow for the potentially positive impact of regulation on productivity growth. Their theoretically derived equation allowed for positive impacts of regulations, included variables that provided a more extensive assessment of the impact of OHS regulation, and incorporated control of two important confounders: economies of scale and business cycle fluctuations.
In the empirical study, the variables that were important to the review’s research questions were as follows: the dependent variable, TFP growth – difference between real output growth and real input growth with real output growth based on the annual value of shipments and real input growth determined from the cost of materials and supplies, cost of energy, wages (production, administration and other non-manufacturing employees), and capital costs; five variables for intensity of OHS regulation, Inspection – rate of inspections per 1000 FTE employees, Refusal – rate of interventions from CSST for work refusals, Protective – rate of protective reassignments, Infraction – rate of penalties imposed, and Prevent – percent of firms that had adopted prevention programs.
Annual industry level data for all Quebec workplaces in 19 manufacturing sectors were obtained from CSST annual reports, Statistics Canada, the
Effectiveness of Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems: A Systematic Review