Workplace Health and Safety Strategy Evaluation Framework
This paper outlines an evaluation framework for the Workplace Health and Safety Strategy (WHSS). It also provides the basis for detailed planning.
The WHSS provides a framework for the workplace health and safety activities of government agencies, local government, unions, employer and industry organisations, non-government organisations and workplaces. It is aimed at significantly reducing New Zealand’s work toll, and will also:
- raise awareness of workplace health and safety;
- help co-ordinate and prioritise the actions of a wide range of organisations;
- improve the infrastructure that supports workplace health and safety.
It sets out a direction for workplace health and safety in New Zealand based on a vision of healthy people in safe and productive workplaces.
There are four principles used in the development of the Strategy that should guide the implementation. These are:
- Prevention: workplace health and safety activities should focus on preventing new cases of illness and injury.
- Participation: improvements in workplace health and safety can only happen if all groups are involved;
- Responsibility: employers have primary responsibility for workplace health and safety. Employees also have some responsibility fort heir safety, through how they act in their workplaces.
- Practicability: workplace health and safety activities must be based on what is reasonable, given particular circumstances.
Information from evaluation activities will provide key stakeholders with information on this Strategy. This could include:
- The implementation of the Strategy;
- Progress against actions in the Strategy action plan;
- What is working and not working in the Strategy Implementation Plan;
- Whether the strategy is meeting the vision of Healthy People in Safe and Productive Workplaces through the outcome indicators; and
- What else needs to happen to improve workplace health and safety?
Evaluation will feed into reporting requirements as well as the Strategy’s development. The Strategy is a dynamic initiative that will evolve over time in response to lessons learnt through evaluation. Evaluation, in this context, can be seen as a strategic conversation between stakeholders that highlights what is working and not working (Sridhavan and Lopes, 2004 and Duignan 2002)1.
1 Documents that have proved useful in the development of the Evaluation Strategy include the following:
- Duigan, Dr Paul, Introduction to Strategic Evaluation: Section on Evaluation Approaches, Purposes, Methods and Designs. Accessed February 2005 at http://www.strategicevaluation.info/documents/104.htm
- Sridharan and Lopez, Methodological Lessons Learned from the Process Evaluation of a Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent and Chronic Juvenile Offenders. In Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, Issue 22, July 2004: 128-147.
- Patton, Michael Quinn (2001), Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods - 3 rd Edition. Sage Publications Inc, Thousand Oaks, California.
Evaluation of the Strategy can only take place in the 'real world' meaning that there is no ability to undertake experimental designs where, ideally, the investigator controls study conditions by manipulating, changing or holding constant external influences (Patton 2001)1. Consequently, the framework needs to base its evaluation on other forms of inquiry. Naturalistic inquiry may be the best framework for evaluation of the Strategy. This is a 'discovery-oriented' approach that minimises investigator manipulation of the study setting and places no prior constraints on what the outcome of the research will be. There is no ability to have a pre-test and post-test which compares treatment groups in relation to specifiable predetermined outcomes. With the WHSS, we are looking at a dynamic variable and comprehensive strategy that is being implemented nation-wide. Evaluation is this case is used to feed into improving the Strategy as it develops and providing information about how the Strategy is working.
The diagram below shows how evaluation is used throughout the Strategy as a strategic conversation, informing and improving the Strategy throughout its lifecycle. There are three types of evaluation being considered for the WHSS: implementation/formative evaluation; process evaluation and impact/outcome evaluation. These are discussed in the next section of the paper.
As already noted, the evaluation framework relies on other work programmes for information. This includes:
- Injury data from the Injury Information Manager at Statistics NZ. This data is reported annually and will make up part of the WHSS outcomes data.
- NOHSAC research reports. These include a baseline data through an OSH profile or stocktake similar to the ILO recommended OSH profile and a review of the surveillance systems for occupational disease and injury in NZ and other jurisdictions.
- Valid Injury Outcome Indicator information from ACC Injury Prevention Strategy.
This diagram over the page sets out the different projects within the Evaluation Framework along with their completion dates. Arrows are used to indicate where pieces of evaluation work inform future activities. The arrows also indicate the connected nature of the framework and show how it works at different levels.
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