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Work-related accidents cost EU EUR 476 bn a year

06 September 2017, 22:22 CET
Work-related accidents cost EU EUR 476 bn a year

Workplace safety

(SINGAPORE) - Work-related ill-health and injury costs the EU 3.3 per cent of its GDP, or EUR 476 billion every year, according to new estimates of the cost of poor occupational safety and health presented Monday.

The figures were presented by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) together with the International Labour Organization at the XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, held in Singapore on 3-6 September.

The new findings reveal that worldwide work-related injury and illness result in the loss of 3.9 % of GDP, at an annual cost of roughly EUR2,680 billion - which could be saved with the right occupational safety and health strategies, policies and practices, according to the agencies.

The estimates are the result of a major project on the costs and benefits of OSH.The project was carried out by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH), the WSH Institute in Singapore, the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) and EU-OSHA.

"Safe and healthy work is a fundamental human right but these new estimates of the costs of poor or non-existent OSH measures show that the economic case for OSH has never been stronger," said EU-OSHA's director Dr Christa Sedlatschek, ahead of the World Congress: "Work-related ill-health and injury is costing the European Union 3.3 % of its GDP. That's EUR 476 billion every year which could be saved with the right occupational safety and health strategies, policies and practices.'

Good practice in OSH can help make businesses productive, competitive and sustainable, as well as reducing healthcare costs and other societal burdens. But the costs of poor OSH are high - for individuals, business and society. Through the costs and benefits project, EU-OSHA has taken steps to identify and evaluate the data that is available in the EU and worldwide to develop accurate and up-to-date estimates of the costs of work-related diseases and injuries.

Further findings to be presented at the World Congress include:

  • Work-related illnesses account for 86 % of all deaths related to work worldwide, and 98 % of those in the EU.
  • 123.3 million DALY (disability-adjusted life years) are lost globally (7.1 million in the EU) as a result of work-related injury and illness. Of these, 67.8 million (3.4 million in the EU) are accounted for by fatalities and 55.5 million (3.7 million in the EU) by disability.
  • In most European countries, work-related cancer accounts for the majority of costs (€119.5 billion or 0.81% of the EU's GDP), with musculoskeletal disorders being the second largest contributor.

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)


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