Occupational health and safety (OHS) policy makers are keen on making decisions based on evidence. But evidence seems hard to get, for many reasons.
Some people, including those in workplace relations and OHS, often fill the evidence gap with “anecdotal evidence”. Frequently people being interviewed are asked for evidence to substantiate their claims and respond that “anecdotally” there is a problem yet there is no sample size for this evidence, there is no clarity or definition of the incident or issue – it is simply “what I heard” or “what I’ve been told”. Using anecdotal evidence is okay as long as its inherent uncertainty is acknowledged and it is not used as a basis for substantial change.