Safety at work is good for business

IT is important to know that poor workplace occupational safety and health (OSH) costs money. Studies carried out in Western countries and by the International Labour Organisation show that good OSH management is linked to improved profitability.

Occupational injuries, diseases and deaths result in high economic costs to employees, employers, governments and society. Effects may include costly early retirement, loss of skilled staff, absenteeism, and high medical costs and insurance premiums.

Insight into the financial consequences of occupational injury and disease can provide policymakers and employer organisations with relevant data for developing OSH policies and strategies. A strong national strategy leads to numerous benefits such as improved productivity through less sickness absence, reduced healthcare costs and keeping older people in employment.

Injuries, diseases and deaths are associated with different types of costs. First, there are direct costs, such as healthcare costs. Then there are costs associated with productivity and output losses. In addition, there are costs associated with the impact on human wellbeing, that is, the impact on people’s lives and health.

Having a good OSH system in place will make occupational safety and health management strategies more effective. All of your employees will have a clear understanding of how to handle key activities, whether it’s reporting an incident, responding to an issue, or working through a problem.

It is quite evident that investing in OSH interventions can reduce injury rates and the costs associated with replacing staff, and increase productivity levels.

From the experience of companies with good OSH management, it is clear that they not only control the noted costs but also establish an esteemed public image for their company. In short, good OSH management is good business.

WONG SOO KAN , Petaling Jaya

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