An important question for companies is whether adopting a workplace prevention strategy is beneficial also at a microeconomic level. In this regard, in analysing the economic benefits of prevention measures, a distinction has to be made among the different types of effects of prevention measures: direct (i.e. prevention of accidents at work); indirect (i.e. improvement of public image); short-term (i.e. operating expenses for prevention measures); and long-term (i.e. sustainability of the benefits of prevention measures).
In 2010, the International Social Security Association (ISSA), the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV), and the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Energy, Textile, Electrical and Media Products Sectors (BG ETEM) initiated an international study on “Calculating the international return on prevention for companies: Costs and benefits of investments in occupational safety and health”.
The international study looked at the question of how occupational safety and health is beneficial to companies. Answering this core question required that conceptual consideration was given to the idea of prevention accounting. It also required the collection of qualitative and quantitative data regarding the success of prevention. This report summarises the initial results of the study.