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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Assessing WSMP's impact

Assessing WSMP's impact
Article Type:
Publication Date:
New Zealand

Membership of ACC's WSMP programme is good for company OHS systems, but may have little or no effect on the nature or prevalence of workplace injuries, according to health and safety staff from participating companies.

In a Massey University survey of 200 OHS practitioners from medium-to-large organisations some 80% of respondents said that, in their opinion, WSMP has had a beneficial effect on both their organisation's OHS management system and the way it is applied in practice. However numbers were more evenly split on questions about the scheme's impact on injuries, with slightly larger percentages - 49% and 50% compared to 45% and 44% - reporting no positive impact on incidence or severity. Of these, two percent claimed a negative impact on injury rates, and 1% on injury severity.

The survey, by Kirsten Bendix Olsen from the university's Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health, examines how WSMP is regarded by those with OHS responsibilities, and what, in their view, are the most important reasons for belonging to the scheme.

Unsurprisingly the ACC levy discount was one of the key motivators for joining the programme, with 59% of respondents rating it as very important and a further 25% as important or quite important. However it was the availability of the audit itself, and the support it provides for individual OHS programmes, that received the highest overall ratings. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said the ability to work to a national audit framework was important, while 91% valued the way the system helped them identify areas for further improvement.

More worryingly, 87% valued the scheme for giving assurance that the organisation was legally compliant, even though ACC specifically states that WSMP accreditation cannot be viewed in this way. "This message seems not to be understood by the practitioners or the organisations," Olsen says.

Around three-quarters of respondents valued accreditation as a way of demonstrating OHS commitment to staff, customers, the business community and the public, but almost two-thirds saw it as having little or no value as a means of securing work, despite ACC's attempts to encourage large organisations to require it as part of the tendering processes.

When questioned about the impact the programme has had within companies, 62% said it had positively influenced both knowledge and attitudes about OHS at senior management level. The impact on middle and first line managers was less straightforward however, with some 60% saying WSMP participation had increased OHS knowledge at these levels, but an almost even divide between those who believed attitudes had also improved and those who saw no improvement or, in a handful of cases, a deterioration in attitude from these managers. Significantly, practitioners who had been in the company when WSMP was implemented were far more likely to identify positive changes in attitude and knowledge at all levels of management.

Olsen notes that because 73% of survey participants had tertiary level WSMP accreditation, and only 2% were at primary level, the results are likely to be more positive than would be the case if all organisations were sampled.


People Mentioned:
Kirsten Bendix Olsen
Organisations Mentioned:
Massey University; ACC
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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