The Use of Quantitative Research Methods in Occupational Safety and Health

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Quantitative research methods apply numbers and measurable aspects of an investigation, in a systematic manner, to aid in the explanation, prediction, and control of phenomena. In Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), quantitative research methods could aid in decision-making if they are effectively utilized. This paper describes specific quantitative methods utilized in OHS and evaluates their effectiveness. In addition, it provides the future of quantitative research in OHS and recommends on the best practices for positive outcomes.

Thesis Statement: Although quantitative research is used widely in OHS, the methods have a vast scope for exploration in the field for effective decision-making, especially with the rapidly changing business environment.

Quantitative Methods in OHS and their Effectiveness

            The use of questionnaires aid in the collection of psychological related data in OHS (Riva, Teruzzi & Anolli, 2003). The method is effective, as it is less costly as compared to other quantitative methods, engages a larger population, involves voluntary participation, and has no time limitation (Giuseppe, Tiziana & Luigi, 2003). For instance, an organization may need to implement a new policy that requires the mandatory use of personal protective equipment in its production plant. Before the policy’s implementation, it may need to collect information to determine how the workers could be affected. The company could come up with either an open or close questionnaire that contains several questions, in order to draw specific information from the workers regarding the policy (O'Cathain & Thomas, 2004). This could aid in decision-making to determine whether the policy should be implemented with or without amendments.

            Additionally, surveys could be used for the collection of data in OHS. The method is used for the description of specific facets of a given population from the examination of a sample from the population. This method is suitable for the collection of demographic data, as it defines the sample’s composition. For instance, surveys could be used for the collection of expert knowledge regarding operational safety issues in an organization (Wachter & Yorio, 2014). The degree of accidents in the organization could be on the rise triggering the need to determine the causes. A survey could be conducted involving a few employees that have previously been involved in an accident while at work. Subsequently, safety professional could use the information collected to give expert advice to the leadership for purposes of decision-making on measures to reduce the number of accidents (Kim, Yu, Kim & Kim, 2011).

            Moreover, quantitative research uses computational methods in OHS such as regression analysis to determine the relationship between certain aspects of a phenomenon. This statistical method involves the formulation of equations that relate dependent and independent variables. Although the method is effective, it operates under certain the assumption that every variable simulates a normal distribution. An example in OHS could relate to the determination of whether a significant relationship exists between the rate of injury and the amount of time spent by employees in training sessions on safety. The collection of data would involve the number of hours spent by a sample of employees in training and the rate of their involvement in occupational accidents. This data would be plotted against each other and be used to create a curve. The effective interpretation of this curve is used to explain the relationship between the two aspects.

Future of Quantitative Research

            The future of the research method in OHS will definitely be characterized by major transitions. To begin with, researchers question the credibility of data collected in OHS to the effect that most of the data do not trigger thorough research of different phenomena. Thus, there is need to involve larger samples of a given population, in order to collect more data for appropriate measurement, analysis, and interpretation. Moreover, a larger sample leads to minimal errors thus elevating the credibility of research results. Secondly, there are future suggestions to combine qualitative and quantitative data to enhance the effectiveness of the measurement techniques in quantitative research (Hurst & Jones, 2016). In generic terms, quantitative research should incorporate developing technology for the advancement of the various techniques (Hunter, 2012). For instance, technology could be utilized for the facilitation of testing assumptions in a research. The systems could integrate these assumptions in the creation of reliable databases to deduce critical facets for decision-making.   


            The application of quantitative research is reliable in OHS, especially due to the use of numerical data. The research utilizes questionnaires, surveys, and computational methods to collect and analyze data for the generation of valuable information. Subsequently, this information is used to make critical decisions regarding a given phenomena under research. From the examples, the effectiveness of the quantitative methods is evident. However, the methods could be improved in the future for better results. Although quantitative research is used widely in OHS, the methods have a vast scope for exploration in the field for effective decision-making, especially with the rapidly changing business environment.


Hunter, L. (2012). Challenging the reported disadvantages of e-questionnaires and addressing methodological issues of online data collection. Nurse Researcher, 20(1), 11-20. doi: 10.7748/nr2012.

Hurst, P., & Jones, Q. (2016). Measuring Safety: A Call for a New Approach. Safety Management, 45-49.

Kim, E., Yu, I., Kim, K., & Kim, K. (2011). Optimal set of safety education considering individual characteristics of construction workers. Canadian Journal Of Civil Engineering, 38(5), 506-518. doi: 10.1139/l11-024

O'Cathain, A., & Thomas, K. (2004). "Any other comments?" Open questions on questionnaires – a bane or a bonus to research?. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 4(1). doi: 10.1186/1471-2288-4-25

Riva, G., Teruzzi, T., & Anolli, L. (2003). The Use of the Internet in Psychological Research: Comparison of Online and Offline Questionnaires. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 6(1), 73-80. doi: 10.1089/109493103321167983

Wachter, J., & Yorio, P. (2014). Investigating Accident Investigation Characteristics & Organizational Safety Performance. Journal of Safety, Health & Environmental Research, 10(2), 169-177.

January 19, 2024

Business Economics Life

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