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Something Might be Missing From Occupational Health and Safety Audits: Findings From a Content Validity Analysis of Five Audit Instruments

Robson, Lynda S. PhD; Macdonald, Sara; Van Eerd, Dwayne L. MSc; Gray, Garry C. PhD; Bigelow, Philip L. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 5 - p 536-543
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181dbc87c
Original Articles

Objective: The objective was to examine the content validity of occupational health and safety (OHS) management audit methods.

Methods: The documentation used by five broader public sector service organizations to audit OHS management in workplaces was analyzed with reference to a recent OHS management standard (CSA Z1000).

Results: A relatively high proportion of CSA Z1000's content (74%) was partially or fully represented on average in the audit methods. However, six management elements were found to be incompletely represented in three or more of the methods. The most extreme example is the Internal Audits element whose content was completely missing for three of the audit methods.

Conclusion: Some OHS management audit instruments in current use are incomplete relative to a recent OHS management standard. It may be that some instruments warrant revision to better reflect current expert consensus.

From the Institute for Work and Health (Dr Robson, Ms Macdonald, Mr Van Eerd, Dr Gray, Dr Bigelow); Dalla Lana School of Public Health (Mr Van Eerd), University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Health Policy and Management (Dr Gray), Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass; Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety (Dr Gray), Hopkinton, Mass; Health Studies and Gerontology (Dr Bigelow) Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Address correspondence to: Lynda Robson, Institute for Work & Health, 481 University Ave., Suite 800, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E9, Canada; E-mail:

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine