May 1, 2018
It can be proven that a well implemented Occupational Health service can offer a good return on investment, finds a new report. A white paper, produced by the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM), the International SOS Foundation and KU Leuven University, “Occupational Health: the Global Value and Evidence”, discusses the value of OH from a global perspective and provides a synthesis of global evidence on the effectiveness of OH interventions and cost effectiveness. With fatal and non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses worldwide equating to a cost of approximately €2680 billion, equivalent to 4 percent of the global GDP or the entire GDP of Great Britain organisations, their workforce, and society have to bear a substantial cost. The paper demonstrates that Occupational Health services bring value by improving the health of the working population; contributing to the prevention of work-related illnesses; preventing avoidable sickness absence through the provision of early interventions for those who develop a health condition; and increasing the efficiency and productivity of organisations. They can also play a major part in protecting and revitalising the global economy.
“Work related health issues are far reaching, through the impact on organisations, employees and their families and on the wider community and ultimately the economy. SOM CEO, Nick Pahl, said.
“Effects are across industries and ailments, from the impacts of a bad flu season to accidents and injuries. Many of these issues are preventable or at least can be reduced, hence the enormous potential of Occupational Health programmes. This report provides comprehensive evidence of significant positive health related impact and return on investment of successful Occupational Health interventions.”
Added Lode Godderis, Professor at KU Leuven University and co-author of the report, “The paper represents global evidence on the overall positive health impact and return-on-investment in a very wide range of Occupational Health interventions. From the implementation of a new manufacturing system in a medical centre to reduce the number of needle stick injuries, resulting in cost savings of $62,000 a year, to a workers’ health promotion programme involving topics such as nutrition and lifestyle management. This study demonstrates that the potential of Occupational Health can be fulfilled in numerous areas of the field.”
“This paper broadens the scope of OH beyond traditional occupational medicine, to include wellness, sustainability and social responsibility,” argued Olivier LO, Group Medical Director, Occupational Health Services, of International SOS Foundation.
“It extends the meaning of value to encompass both tangible aspects, such as financial performance and legal compliance and intangible effects including reputation and corporate image
“By adopting this approach, the report sets out the multi-dimensional aspect of OH value. Through OH interventions, organisations have the opportunity to also have an impact on the wider community and achieve the corporate social responsibility expected from them.”
The report is available here.