“We must realize that we are facing big challenges in reaching workplaces with the right knowledge”
8th of May 2018
Course leader presentation: Johnny Dyreborg
From Research to Practice in OHS, 27th – 29th of August 2018, Sinatur Hotel Frederiksdal, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
Johnny Dyreborg, PhD, Senior Scientist at the National Research Centre for the Working Environment (NRCWE) in Denmark, what is your background?
My background is in organizational sociology and my main research field is intervention research. What really interests me, is what works in the field of improving safety and preventing accidents at work. To this day I have been project leader for a large international project reviewing the existing literature on what is working in accident prevention.
I have been researching a number of approaches in preventing accidents for more than 15 years in various sectors and industries. Before that I was working at the European Commission with establishment of common standards and statistics in the field of the working environment, but also with questions on how to implement this at a European level.
Why is From Research to Practice in OHS an important and current issue to discuss in 2018? What is your take on it?
A specific focus in my later research has been the potential for companies to improve the safety of their employees, and which evidence-based tools they have at hand to achieve that. In general, research in this field has extended our knowledge on accident prevention and provided much insight into what is working for whom under what circumstances
However, this evidence based knowledge has only to a smaller extent converted into impact on safety practices at the workplaces. We must realize that we are facing big challenges in reaching workplaces with the right knowledge. As researchers we cannot just leave it up to the end users alone to search and identify the best evidence for prevention. Conversely, we cannot leave it up to the researchers to identify what is the right knowledge for practice. Even if we have useful best practices based on evidence, we still need to know how to best transfer and exchange relevant evidence to implement this in a meaningful way at the workplaces.
Unfortunately the numbers are working against us. How is it possible for a limited number of researchers to reach many workplaces? This is the challenge that we face. We need to develop new ways to reach the workplaces, for example increase collaboration with knowledge brokers, such as health and safety professional, organizations and public institutions. Furthermore, workplaces need to be more involved in research, if they should have trust in evidence-based practices on accident prevention, and be better prepared to uptake this knowledge. For this reason, I believe that research to practice in OHS will not only be an important topic in 2018, but an important and inevitable topic in the years to come as well.
What do you want to say to the participants of the course?
Dear participants, whether you are working with OSH in practice, as knowledge broker, in public administration or as a researcher, this course is about exchange of knowledge between research and practice, and how we in the coming years better can reach out for each other. Both research and practice need to be involved in closing the gap between evidence-based knowledge and safety practices at work. This course will provide you with a common framework and tools that can assist you in closing this gap.