“Evidence-based safety interventions for the prevention of accidents at work – multidisciplinary approaches”
Limited knowledge regarding the relative effectiveness of workplace accident prevention approaches creates barriers to informed decision-making by policy makers, public health practitioners, workplace, and worker advocates. The objective of this review was to assess the effectiveness of safety interventions in preventing accidents at work. A systematic review of the scientific literature was carried out looking at the effects the following broad types of safety interventions: Modification of attitudes/behaviour/physiology; safety culture/climate/norms; and structural conditions (including physical environment, engineering, legislation and enforcement, sectorial-level norms). In total 100 original studies were included showing that engineering controls are more effective at reducing injuries than other approaches. Multifaceted approaches combining intervention elements on the organizational level, or across levels are also effective (moderate to strong effects). Evidence supports regulation/legislation as contributing to the prevention of accidents at work, but with lesser effect. All in all the relative effectiveness of workplace safety interventions is in accordance with the ‘Hierarchy of Hazard Control’, where ‘elimination of risks’ is the most effective, followed by ‘substitution’, ‘technical initiatives’, ‘organisational initiatives’ and ‘person-related initiatives’ (e.g. personal protective equipment, training, instruction).