The EU-OSHA recently published a collection of case studies on the cost-benefit analysis of OSH measures. In its view, the results are clear: investing in OSH is profitable even for SMEs.
SMEs by themselves account for 67% of employment in the EU, but also 82% of occupational injuries. Motivating them to prevent occupational risks therefore has major implications, on both the human and financial levels. Via 13 case studies, the EU-OSHA endeavours to demonstrate to SMEs that they have everything to gain by investing in OSH. A vast range of sectors is covered: agriculture, bakery, metalworking, floor coverings, construction and waste treatment. 11 of the 13 cases show a positive return on investment in five years.
In the Netherlands, for example, an SME specialized in cucumber picking was able to reduce sick leave due to MSD by 20%, by investing in a new system for picking and processing cucumbers. The investment was recouped in four years and the company was able to expand. In another example, the workers of a Lithuanian furniture manufacturing firm complained of being exposed to dust, fumes and metallic particles. The firm therefore invested in an air filtration system and in new personal protective equipment (PPE). The return on investment was positive in only one year.
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