Certain workers, such as new and young workers, are considered “vulnerable”—that is, at a greater risk of workplace injury. But what exactly makes these workers vulnerable? Are they the same factors across all groups of workers or do different groups face different risk factors? Understanding the patterns of different types of vulnerability can help you develop more appropriately tailored safety measures.
HOW TO USE THE TOOL
This questionnaire is based on one created by IWH scientist Dr. Peter Smith as a tool to measure the extent to which workers are vulnerable to OHS risks. The tool frames OHS vulnerability along four dimensions:
- Level of hazards faced by the worker;
- Workplace- or organization-level protection and policies;
- Worker awareness of occupational hazards, rights and responsibilities; and
- Worker empowerment to participate in injury prevention.
In this context, “OHS vulnerability” is defined as arising when workers are exposed to hazards in combination with inadequate workplace policies and procedures, low OHS awareness and/or a workplace culture that discourages worker participation in injury prevention. You can use this questionnaire to get a sense of areas of weakness in your OHS program that may make all or certain workers more vulnerable.