New Initiative: The Exposure Data System

10 Oct 2023

OCRC is working with the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) to establish the Exposure Data System for Ontario. The goal of this project is to develop a digital data system of Ontario workplace exposure measurements. This initiative aims to address a key gap in Ontario’s occupational health and safety system: the lack of access to high quality exposure data.

The creation of Exposure Data System is one of several initiatives the MLITSD has committed to in response to an independent review of Ontario’s system for preventing and responding to occupational diseases.

How the project will be done

This project will be completed in several steps. The OCRC will work with the MLITSD to collect and digitize data from workplace inspection records held by the MLITSD. The project will also include data from other sources willing to provide their workplace exposure measurement data. In the long-term, the data system will allow users to query the data by occupation, industry, sample type, region, and time-period.

Why the project is important

Occupational disease is a significant contributor to the burden of disease in Ontario. Understanding occupational exposures – the types of hazards present in Ontario workplaces and the levels of exposure that can occur – is an important step in preventing occupational disease. However, there is a lack of exposure measurement data available and accessible for surveillance purposes in Ontario. Ontario-specific occupational exposure surveillance data is needed to:

  1. quantify the risk of occupational diseases;
  2. identify high-risk jobs, worker groups, or hazards where workplace controls or governmental policies to reduce exposures will have the greatest impact on prevention of workplace illness and disease; and
  3. assist with the adjudication of workers’ compensation claims.

The Exposure Data System will help to fill this gap in Ontario-specific occupational exposure surveillance data. It will be a valuable resource for occupational health and safety professionals, practitioners, policy makers, and researchers.