/k- . /. /o 4-i

c_. -Jt


Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2017 with funding from University of Alberta Libraries



The Occupational Health and

Safety Heritage Grant Program is one of Alberta Occupational Health and Safety's major prevention programs and is a key element in meeting the department's strategic goals. It complements AOHS's mission to enhance the health and safety of Alberta's workers by supporting educational programs and projects, research and conferences.

Working in partnership with industry, labour, post-secondary institutions and other agencies, the Grant Program encourages Albertans to become involved in finding effective solutions to health and safety problems in the workplace. Its objectives are the prevention of injuries and ill health resulting from employment, and the promotion of the health and well-being of Alberta workers.

The Grant Program began in 1981 and is funded by the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. This report covers the 1991/92 fiscal year, the Grant Program's eleventh year of operation.

A solid track record

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety estimates that poor health and safety practices cost Alberta between $1- and $2-billion annually, not only in Workers' Compensation and insurance costs but in equipment damage, production losses and the loss of trained workers. The Grant Program spends 50 cents annually for each Albertan.

Other agencies have co-sponsored projects and donated supplies and services. In the last three years, for every grant dollar awarded, industry, the federal government and other Alberta government departments contributed 56 cents towards grant projects. In addition, for every dollar

the Grant Program has spent on research since 1986, another 32 cents has been spent by the federal government to continue the research.

Through the Grant Program, dynamic educational and research programs and organizations concerned with workplace health and safety now operate in Alberta universities and colleges. The numbers of Albertans trained in safety and loss control, occupational medicine, occupational health nursing and occupational hygiene technology have increased significantly.

Alberta apprentices and workers in a variety of hazardous occupations and industries receive up-to-date training in safe work procedures through materials developed with Grant Program funds. These include forestry, oil and gas, utilities, construction, manufacturing and transportation.

With assistance from the Grant Program, researchers have investigated important occupational health and safety problems. The Grant Program has also supported many occupational health and safety conferences held in Alberta.

During the 1991/92 fiscal year, 15 applications were approved. The results of some recent projects are featured in this report.

Because implementation of project results in Alberta workplaces is key to the success of the Grant Program, the emphasis is on finding solutions to known, high priority occupational health and safety problems. The Grant Program has focused on the following funding priorities:

- fatal and serious injury incidents;

- hazards in the forestry industry;

- hazards in the oil and gas industry;

- chemical and biological hazards;

- occupational health and safety problems of small businesses;

- initiatives for new/ young workers;

- initiatives related to literacy/ English as a second language.

The Grant Program is administered by a manager, research officer and secretary. Staff monitor the progress of funded projects by telephone calls, correspondence and site visits. As well, AOHS staff provide guidance to grant recipients on the design and development of their projects, and the promotion of the results of completed projects.

Completed grant projects are promoted throughout the year. For example, the Substance Use and the Alberta Workplace report, an outcome of a study funded by the Grant Program, was distributed to a wide audience in government, addiction research agencies, labour and industry. The results were also presented at a news conference. Other projects are promoted through articles in journals, magazines and newspapers, radio interviews and presentations to employers, workers and educators.


When investigators examine the circumstances of a serious incident, blame is often put on a failure to see occupational health and safety as a regular part of doing business and a core management activity. Studies have shown that the meaningful factor in reducing losses is the commitment of management.

"Of course we can teach workers to work safely," says Laird Wilson, a professional engineer with over 30 years of industrial experience in safety and loss management. "But the greatest strides in this area will be made by getting management to create a climate that considers safety as an integral part of business operations."

While today's managers wrestle with learning a new way of thinking about safety and loss management, Wilson is busy giving tomorrow's managers university students a head start. He has designed a unique program in safety and loss management at the University of Alberta. Engineering and business students can take two courses, Safety and Loss Management and Risk and Loss Management, which train them in industrial safety and loss management before they begin their careers.

Start-up and operational funding for the Safety and Loss Management Program the only one of its kind in Canada comes from the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Heritage Grant Program. In 1988, Wilson was asked by the U of A's Faculty of Engineering to redesign its industrial safety course into the broader area of safety and loss management. An initial Heritage grant of $60,000 covered the course redesign.

Wilson, who also teaches the two courses, points out that the engineering and business students enrolled in the program will form a significant portion of the future management of Canada. "What we're doing is preparing future managers, developing their attitudes and understanding of safety and loss management," he says. "We want them to become crusaders, to grow up with safety and loss management as a passion. And as they move up in the companies they work for, they will embody these concepts into the corporate systems."

Teaching safety in a new way

A key aspect of the courses is their approach to safety and loss. Rather than teaching the subject as a one-time activity isolated from other business operations, safety and loss management

"We want them to become cru- saders, to grow up with safety and loss management as a pas- sion. And as they move up in the companies they work for, they will embody these concepts into the corporate systems," Laird Wilson explained.

is presented as a continuous and consistent process.

"Safety and loss management isn't something you only do every Friday afternoon," explains Wilson. "It must be built into every job you do and think about. It is a continuous, well-balanced, long-term approach."

"This approach will result in the elimination of major disasters, and reduce the risk to people, the environment, assets and production."

Wilson developed the courses after a series of detailed consultations with senior executives, government departments, industry associations and academic colleagues. He received widespread support for his initiative due, in part, to the growing awareness of the high cost of industrial losses.

The courses attract between 60 and 80 students per term and are open to third and fourth year engineering and business students. The safety and loss program is one of the few opportunities that engineering and business students have to work together.

"The programs these students take are packed and as a result there are not many chances to talk across 'party lines'," Wilson says. "But in industry you had better be a team player, especially in safety and loss management. Major disasters are multifaceted but they stem from a lack of team work. We're attempting to develop this team attitude before our students begin their careers."

In addition to lectures from Wilson, guest lecturers visit the classes on a regular basis. Field trips to industrial sites are another important component of the program. Students visit companies such as Dow, Esso, Nova, Petro-Canada, Syncrude and Ellis-Don; the trips give them an insight into the application of safety and loss management in the field.

The student perspective

The students who take the safety and loss management courses become strong advocates of the program. They are the first group of Wilson's "crusaders" who will enter industry with new ideas about safety and loss management.

Crystal Oliver works as a teaching assistant for the safety and loss management program. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and will be entering her second year of engineering. Her long-term career goal is an executive position in safety and loss management.

" Safety and loss management isn't something you only do every Friday afternoon," explains Wilson. "It must he built into every job you do and think about. It is a continuous, well-balanced, long-term approach."

"There are more and more opportu- | nities in this area in industry/' Oliver j says. "Companies are heavy on safety 1 and environmental issues."

"We teach the courses using a holistic approach. People, the environment, production are all related. As a manager you have to keep a good watch on all. I believe this broad-based approach gives students the background they need and is a big asset I when they're hired on."

Ian Enright shares Oliver 's enthusiasm ! for the safety and loss management program. He is studying mechanical engineering at the U of A, and is also a teaching assistant for the program. Enright credits Wilson for developing a keen interest in safety issues in his students. "I think the program is an eye-opener for many students," he say

"When they first come into the course they tend to think of safety as a reactive type thing. During the course, they learn a proactive management style."

Another aspect of the program that Enright values is the exposure engineering students get to the business side of an operation.

"Engineers get so involved in design issues, they sometime lose sight of the overall picture," Enright explains.

"They don't talk to business people. I see this program as a bridge between the two disciplines."

"It's important to note that I'm not calling it a trade-off. We are training engineers who are technically very competent we're not lowering our standards but these engineers also have an understanding of the safety and loss side of business."

Keeping up the momentum

The work done by Laird Wilson at the U of A has made Alberta a leader in safety education. There is now a nation- wide initiative to integrate occupational health and safety principles into key college and university courses. Called Project Minerva Canada, the initiative is based on a U.S. program and sponsored by the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering.

Alberta continues to push ahead with this initiative. The U of A's Faculty of Engineering plans to establish a Chair in Safety and Loss Management. A $231,200 Occupational Health and Safety Heritage Grant, awarded in 1992, is being used to expand the program and provide funds to cover the period while funding ($2-million) is sought for the Chair.

About $1 -million has already been raised from industry. The funds include a leadership gift from Imperial Oil and capital gifts from DuPont Canada, Union Carbide, Shell Canada, NOVA, Syncrude, Weldwood, Dow Chemical, Celanese Canada and PanCanadian Petroleum.

In the meantime, there is more work to be done updating and improving the safety and loss management courses. "We have to crawl before we walk and walk before we run," Wilson says. "Right now we're at the walking stage. We have high credibility and we must maintain that reputation. Consequently we have to be careful not to spread ourselves too thin."

"Most people don't realize the effort that has gone into this. We've worked very hard and the effort will most certainly pay off when our students reach management positions. We're investing in the future."


Substance use in the workplace it's an issue we've all heard about but until recently little was known about the prevalence of substance use in Alberta workplaces. "The perception in business was that substance use was a serious problem/' says Doug Wright, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. "However no one knew its nature or extent. It was necessary to find this out before we could determine how best to deal with substance use."

This information became available in 1992 with the publication of a comprehensive study of the prevalence and impact of alcohol and other drug use on the Alberta workplace. The Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC) carried out the study with funding from the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Heritage Grant Program. The $165,000 study surveyed over 2000 workers, 325 employers and 43 union representatives.

Results of the nine-month study show that the more dramatic effects of workplace substance use, such as work- related injuries or property damage, are in fact quite rare. Less than 1 per cent of respondents reported that a worker had been injured because they were impaired on the job.

"This is a foundation laying piece of research, one on which we can build," Sawka says. "We now have a good data base that fills a huge gap in our knowledge"

The most common effects of workplace substance use are more subtle and include absenteeism and reduced productivity. Although they seem minor,

they result in significant costs to the Alberta economy perhaps as much as $400 million per year.

Drinking patterns

Eighty per cent of Alberta workers surveyed consumed an alcoholic beverage in the past 12 months (roughly the same proportion of drinkers found in the total Alberta population).

Consumption patterns vary with the type of industry in which workers are employed. The highest weekly alcohol consumption is by workers in utilities and construction.

At work, 5.2 per cent of Albertans reported having used alcohol (including lunch and other breaks) in the last month. The least likely to report drinking at work are those in the health care and forestry/ mining industries. Those most likely to report drinking at work are in oil and gas extraction, construction, telecommunications and manufacturing.

Illicit drug use

Relatively low levels of illicit drug use were reported by Alberta workers. Over the past year, 6.5 per cent of workers have used one or more illicit drugs. The drug of choice is marijuana.

Almost two thirds of these current drug users use drugs less than once a month. Again, consumption patterns vary with the type of industry. Oil and gas extrachon, transportation, construction and forestry/ mining reported more current users.

At work, very few workers (0.5 per cent) use illicit drugs. Reported use of drugs on the job was highest among construction workers, although differences among industries were not pronounced.

What's next?

"The results show that substance use in the Alberta workplace is not a huge problem," says AADAC's Sawka. "However it can have a serious impact and therefore we can't afford to be complacent. At the same time there's no reason to overreact."

"The perception in business was that substance use was a serious problem," says Doug Wright, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. "However no one knew its nature or extent. It was neces- sary to find this out before we could determine how best to deal with substance use."

Sawka notes the study showed that both employers and unions recognize that substance use can affect workers' health and safety. About one third of Alberta workers have access to assistance programs run by their employer or union.

The study has already become a widely referenced source. Over 1300 copies have been distributed to workers, employers and addiction research agencies.

AADAC and Alberta Occupational Health and Safety are working together to ensure a high level of awareness of the study's results. Their goal is to help employers and workers develop appropriate policies and programs that will have a positive effect on workplaces in Alberta.

"This is a foundation-laying piece of research, one on which we can build," Sawka says. "We now have a good data base that fills a huge gap in our knowledge."


Buckle up. Drive sober. Look first. Wear the gear. Get trained.

If you've heard this message before, chances are you're an Alberta teenager or a friend or parent of one. These five maxims form the basis of HEROES, a unique injury prevention program developed by the University of Alberta Hospitals' Injury Awareness and Prevention Centre (IAPC). As of the end of January 1992, 185,000 students had viewed HEROES and heard its message.

The program was created to combat teenage injuries, a serious fact of teenage life that does not receive a great deal of public attention. About 70 per cent of teenage deaths are caused by injury.

"There's no doubt injury is very much a part of teenage life," says IAPC director Loma Stewart. "HEROES is a very positive step towards doing something about teenage injuries."

Getting the show on the road

The development of HEROES was a complex task that brought together the talents of many people. For production, the program received $50,000 from the Grant Program as well as funding from agencies such as the Alberta Solicitor General, Health and Welfare Canada, the

Alberta Motor Association and the Alberta Medical Association.

"Total production costs were in the neighbourhood of $200,000," says Stewart. "The Heritage Grant was pivotal to getting HEROES going."

Thinking about injuries

HEROES represents a new way of thinking about injury. It takes the point of view that an injury is not an accident, but must be viewed like a disease that is

"There's no doubt injury is very much a part of teenage life," says IAPC director Loma Stewart. "HEROES is a very positive step towards doing something about teenage injuries."

preventable and predictable.

"The important thing about HEROES is that it not only speaks to teens, it speaks to them in their own language," Stewart explains. "It does not have an adult perspective."

Shown to high school audiences, HEROES is part multi-image show and part live presentation. The first part of the program is akin to a rock video, presented on a giant screen with

quadraphonic sound and sophisticated lighting. In the second part, injury survivors tell the audience how their injuries changed their lives.

Marlin Styner is one of the injury survivors who participates in HEROES. At 18, he was involved in a car crash that left him a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair. Styner 's presentation is graphic and often shocking.

It drives home the reality of life in a wheelchair and leaves a lasting impression on the audience.

Making a difference

Eager to determine the effectiveness of HEROES, the Injury Awareness and Prevention Centre recently undertook an evaluation of the program.

Results of the surveys are just now being analyzed although there are some impressive preliminary findings. For example, in the 1990-91 calendar year, St. John Ambulance dramatically increased enrollment in first aid training for teachers and students across the province. St. John believes this is due in part to the HEROES presentation and the exposure the "Get trained" message gets.

Going national

HEROES is now on the verge of a new era. In the fall the program will "go national" thanks to the efforts of the Canadian Injury Prevention Foundation. The Foundation will take over delivery of HEROES and it will be shown at high schools nation-wide. (Bookings in Alberta extend well into the next two years.)

"With the Foundation behind it, HEROES will have a national impact," says IAPC's Stewart. "This is a positive growth direction for the program. It will now reach many, many teenagers."


The phrase "doing the laundry" takes on a new meaning when you talk to University of Alberta researchers Drs. Margaret Ann Armour, Betty Crown and Kathy Rigakis. Funded by two grants totalling $190,550 from the Grant Program, they are studying ways to clean clothing contaminated with pesticides.

The work has particular applica- tion to commercial pesticide applicators and greenhouse work- ers. Both groups risk considerable exposure to chemicals.

The work has particular application to commercial pesticide applicators and greenhouse workers. Both groups risk considerable exposure to chemicals. While protective clothing is very effective at minimizing exposure, the clothes must be decontaminated to prevent the build- up of pesticide residues. Although some water-soluble pesticides are easily removed by common laundry procedures, others leave considerable residues even after repeated washings.

Previous studies investigating decontamination methods that would apply to all pesticides have met with mixed success. Based on her wide

experience in clothing research, Dr. Crown felt that a new approach was necessary. "I felt that our work on decontamination would never catch up to the new pesticides that are continually being brought out on the market," she explains. "It seemed appropriate to look at the problem from a chemical theory perspective."

Research collaboration

This new research approach has fostered interdisciplinary collaboration among Drs. Crown and Rigakis, from the U of A's Department of Clothing and Textiles, and Dr. Armour from the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Armour's research on the conversion of toxic chemicals to inactive products fits perfectly with the pesticide study.

The research project started in May 1991. After surveying associations representing commercial pesticide applicators and greenhouse workers, the researchers selected 13 of the most commonly used pesticides for the study. Besides the laundry procedures, other possible spin-offs of the research are techniques to decontaminate equipment, clean up work site spills, and detoxify waste and surplus pesticide.

The laboratory work is a complex task as each pesticide must be evaluated under a

Although some water-soluble pes- ticides are easily removed by com- mon laundry procedures, others leave considerable residues even after repeated washings.

variety of conditions.

Once the researchers find reactions that work in the lab, there is still much more to be done.

"Some of the more drastic decontamination methods may not translate well to laundering because they damage the clothes or even the washing machine itself," says Dr. Rigakis. "Consequently we have to measure the effect of cleaning on fabric strength and colour. The procedures we develop must also be within the realm of what a normal person will do. Above all, they must be practical."

Publicizing the results

Once procedures are developed, the researchers are committed to getting the word out to the workers. All the associations of commercial and greenhouse applicators have volunteered to publish the results of the study in their newsletters. Because the results will also be applicable to farmers, Dr. Crown will be using her contacts at Alberta Agriculture to get the word out to home economists.

Once the research is completed, there are plans to produce a booklet with clear suggestions on how to clean up spills and clean clothing effectively. "We are definitely going to get our results out to users," says Dr. Rigakis. "I can't guarantee that we will be able to get 100 per cent removal in all cases, but our procedures will be the best ones available."


Two university-based

occupational health and safety programs are serving Alberta workers and employers with a , unique blend of research and service j work. The Southern Occupational j Health Resource Service, at the e University of Calgary, and the Northern I Alberta Occupational Health and Safety I Resource Centre, at the University of I Alberta, are funded by $500,000 grants I from the Grant Program. The grants j were awarded in 1990 and run for five j years.

While the programs are both based within their respective university's Faculty of Medicine, each program takes a different approach.

Focus on newcomers

"Canada is a nation built on immigration," says Dr. Doug Hamm, Director of the Southern Occupational Health Resource Service (SOHRS).

"And yet in many cases there isn't the infrastructure support that's needed to help immigrants cope with the demands of their new society."

"We hope to act as a bridge for people who are acquiring the lan- guageexplains Dr. Hamm. "It's untouched territory. There's strong interest across Canada in what we're doing."

One of those challenges is health and safety at work. Because immigrants have a strong desire to succeed, they will often accept more hazardous work or take risks in order to keep their job. They may not be aware of recommended work practices, safety regulations, personal protection, or their rights and responsibilities as workers.

"We must get the message out better," says Dr. Hamm.

Brochures on various health and safety topics are being translated into Spanish, Chinese, Persian and Vietnamese; they will be distributed through English as a Second Language programs and by immigrant aid societies. This summer, SOHRS is running a special workplace health promotion program in Calgary's Chinatown.

"We hope to act as a bridge for people who are acquiring the language," explains Dr. Hamm. "It's untouched territory. There's strong interest across Canada in what we're doing."

Research, teaching, service

It's been a busy year at the Northern Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Resource Centre.

On the research side, one of the major studies completed by the Centre concerns firefighters' mortality. The study covers all firefighters employed between 1927 and 1987 in Calgary and Edmonton over 3300 individuals.

"With the advent of the use of plastics in the 1950s, an increased incidence of lung cancer among firefighters has been expected," says Dr. Tee Guidotti, Director of the Centre. "Our study was

the first to detect an elevation in lung cancer rates, albeit a modest one. We did not find any cardiovascular or emphysema effects."

In occupational health teaching, the University of Alberta offers the only residency in occupational medicine in Canada. Four residents are currently in the program.

"If we are to have individuals trained in occupational medicine, they must have opportunities like this residency," explains Dr. Guidotti. "The physicians who complete this program will teach the next generation of medical students."

One of the Centre's most ambitious

One of the Centre's most ambi- tious service projects is a social marketing demonstration project in Fort McMurray. It combines both community health promo- tion and workplace health pro- motion, activities that are usual- ly considered separately.

service projects is a social marketing demonstration project in Fort McMurray. It combines both community health promotion and workplace health promotion, activities that are usually considered separately. At the same time, the project team is developing parallel safety messages to be pilot-tested in training programs with local employers.

"The message is: safety is not something you train for that is only used for a particular purpose, it is a way of life," Dr. Guidotti says. "It's about the choices you make and the way in which the world around you is engineered."


A comprehensive, independent evaluation of the Grant Program emphasized the need for a strong and sustained commitment to the program. The evaluation found broad-based support from employers, workers and occupational health and safety professionals. It gives clear evidence of the significant impacts and results generated by grant projects. The evaluation's first recommendation is to continue the program.

Ernst and Young Management Consultants undertook the evaluation to determine the impact and results of the program and, if the program was to be continued, what future direction it should take. The Grant Program is operating on an extension of its original mandate.

As well as highlighting the importance of grant projects, evaluation results also show the government is widely regarded as a key partner in developing injury and ill-health prevention strategies and solving occupational health and safety problems.

The approach

Extensive interviews with a wide range of people formed the basis of the Ernst and Young evaluation. The evaluation team canvassed the opinions of external and internal stakeholders, Grant Program recipients, companies and organizations that had used a funded project, and workers in industries related to the projects.

The 17 external stakeholders came from employer, labour or academic backgrounds and were generally in executive positions. They were interviewed on issues and trends in occupational health and safety as well

as the impact and role of the Grant Program.

Twenty-two randomly chosen grant recipients were asked to assess the impacts and results of funded projects and give their own views on the future role of the program. Interviews with project users 36 in all were used to see whether their views on the impacts and results of a project were consistent with grant recipients' views. Comments from 46 workers from industries related to four Grant Program projects determined whether workers considered them to be beneficial.

The evaluation found that the Grant Program is having a posi- tive impact in Alberta work- places.

In addition to the interviews, Ernst and Young also reviewed similar programs in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. These jurisdictions consider grant programs an important component of their overall approach to occupational health and safety.

Results: Strengths and weaknesses

The evaluation found that the Grant Program is having a positive impact in Alberta workplaces. One key stakeholder's point of view summarizes the majority opinion about the significant support role played by the Grant Program. He said the Grant Program is a "wonderful program and is doing a lot to help groups achieve their goals."

Beyond the general comments, the interviews also brought forward specific opinions on the Grant Program. The program's major strengths were identified as flexibility, leverage for

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety, and usable results. In order to make the Grant Program a more strategic element in the total approach to occupational health and safety, those interviewed recommended that three issues be addressed: the low profile of Grant Program results, lack of sustained commitment to the Grant Program, and industry (both employers and workers) involvement.

Flexibility: Participants identified the primary strength of the Grant Program as its ability to adapt to emerging needs in the field of occupational health and safety. The Grant Program's funding for pilot projects or feasibility studies was seen as a major strategic advantage. A grant was provided to the Alberta Logging Association to develop a health and safety manual, when its members recognized the need for woodlands companies with 10 or fewer workers to reduce their unacceptably high injury rate.

AOHS Leverage: The Grant Program provides a vehicle for industry, researchers and Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (AOHS) to influence and coordinate efforts in solving occupational health and safety problems. As one key industry stakeholder said, "The Grant Program is an excellent mechanism for AOHS to achieve goals." A worker said: "(The government) is getting something for its money." Many awards are co- sponsored. In the last three years, for every dollar awarded, industry, the federal government and other Alberta government departments have contributed 56 cents towards grant projects.

Usable results: The Grant Program benefits workers. For example, a funded project developed procedures to


systematically evaluate flame resistant protective clothing. This included the development of the only independent thermal mannequin available in the world. It has been used by companies in Alberta and elsewhere in North America. In addition, the Canadian Petroleum Association has developed voluntary standards for flame resistant clothing for workers as a result of this Grant Program research.

Low profile: In the words of one key industry stakeholder, the Grant Program “appears to be one of the better kept secrets in town." Many external stakeholders attributed the low profile within industry to the apparent lack of a long-term funding commitment to the Grant Program.

Lack of commitment: Respondents felt that a clear statement of political support for the Grant Program was required to ensure the program assumes a long-term role in dealing with health and safety issues. Along with this statement of support was the need for long-term funding because, said one key industry stakeholder, "trying to plan under a short-term scenario doesn't work."

Not enough industry involvement:

Respondents felt that a greater industry (both employers and workers) perspective was needed in the operation of the Grant Program. Many recognized the need for industry involvement in program decision-making, but were not aware of the role industry already plays.


The Ernst and Young team found strong support for the Grant Program from external stakeholders, grant recipients, project users and workers alike. Its first recommendation reflects that sentiment.

(1) Ernst & Young recommends continuation of the Heritage Grant Program.

Continuation of the program is consistent with what is happening in other jurisdictions that use grant programs to support research and/or education initiatives in occupational health and safety. These jurisdictions appear to be moving toward the unique problem-solving approach and broad mandate of the Grant Program.

The evaluation found broad- based support from employers , workers and occupational health and safety professionals.

During the evaluation, key external stakeholders stated that they want more involvement in the Grant Program. The second recommendation addresses this issue.

(2) Ernst & Young recommends increasing the participation of employers and labour in the Heritage Grant Program through reviewing the composition of the Steering Committee to allow for enhanced participation of industry in project funding decisions and the establishment of funding priorities and criteria.

The consultants point out that the essential element in encouraging increased industry participation is a demonstration of a long-term commitment for the Grant Program, in terms of funding and political support.

The evaluation also revealed that some stakeholders had little knowledge of the program. The third recommendation highlights the need for better awareness of the Grant Program.

(3) Ernst & Young recommends a concerted effort be undertaken to enhance the profile of the Heritage Grant Program particularly with

industry, potential grant applicants and other government departments.

Again, the consultants note that this recommendation is premised on a long- term commitment to the Grant Program. As well, awareness-raising is likely to incur added costs costs that the consultants say should be seen as an investment with the pay-back in better projects and increased industry involvement.

Without industry (both employers and workers) support at the outset of projects, there is potential for projects to be completed but never used, or for projects to tackle problems that are not relevant to industry. The final recommendation focuses on the need for practical applications within industry.

(4) Ernst and Young recommends all project applicants demonstrate some form of industry support in their application proposal.

As the report acknowledges, currently many projects have industry support.

An ongoing need

The Ernst and Young evaluation found significant support for a continuing role for the Grant Program. While participants made suggestions for strengthening the Grant Program, none of those interviewed questioned its importance in helping to improve the occupational health and safety environment of Alberta. They stressed that there was much more to be done in areas such as education, safety training and the development of prevention strategies. As one key stakeholder from industry observed: "There is still a lot of work to be done in safety we cannot stress the need enough."


Implementation of project results in Alberta workplaces is key to the success of the Heritage Grant Program. Grant recipients identify how their projects will benefit workers and employers, and how results will be promoted. Industry, labour and professional associations are in a position to directly apply new solutions to workplace problems. By funding these groups, the Grant Program aims to maximize benefits to Alberta workers.

From 1981 to 1992, the Heritage Grant Program received 599 applications and approved 216. In 1991/92, 15 applications were approved, the same number as the previous year (Appendix II).

At least 55 per cent of all projects have outcomes or results that can be applied in more than one industry. For example, educational materials on chain saw safety funded by a Heritage grant are now used in the forestry, oil and gas, and construction industries.

Grant recipients

Technical institutes, colleges, vocational centres and universities have received 56 percent of grant funds (Appendix I). This reflects the 1985 recommendation of the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Act which placed special emphasis on involving post-secondary institutions. The results of funding educational institutions are seen in new courses in areas such as safety and loss management (see pages 2 and 3); the benefits are long-lasting. Because of these educational initiatives, many Albertans are able to pursue occupational health and safety training not previously available in this province.

Employer and industry associations received 15 per cent of the grant funds. Other recipients are unions, professional associations, consultants and municipalities.

Information transfer

The range of outcomes produced with Grant Program sponsorship includes videos, safe procedures manuals, courses, research reports, computer software, and methods to evaluate protective garments. All materials are available for public circulation from the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Library. Albertans can also order copies of project reports from Alberta Occupational Health and Safety's regional offices. In addition, materials are sent to the National Library of Canada and the Canadian Centre for

Occupational Health and Safety.

Promotion of project results is an ongoing function of the Grant Program (see accompanying table). The distribution of the Substance Use and the Alberta Workplace report, an outcome of a study funded by the Grant Program (see page 4), serves as a good example of how project results reach a wide audience. Over 1300 copies of the report have been distributed to federal and provincial government offices, international agencies, organizations interested in occupational health and safety, labour groups, businesses and survey participants. In addition, the results of the project were presented at a news conference, which received extensive coverage, and presented to industry (employers and workers).

Promotion of 144 Completed Projects

Copies of reports, booklets, videotapes in circulation 266,448

Courses available from education institutions and

industry groups 41

Workers, employers, and health and safety professionals trained

in these courses 261,307

Presentations of results at conferences, industry and

professional association meetings 506

Research reports produced 74

Books and manuals published 66

Articles in journals 178

Papers in conference proceedings 84

Videotapes or films produced 26

Public use of videotapes from the Occupational

Health and Safety Library 2272

Articles in Occupational Health & Safety Magazine 89

*Not all projects have records of the number of publications distributed, presentations made or workers trained. The results presented in this table understate the actual dissemination of results and the use of Grant-produced materials.


I 11

Types of Awards