Profitability and occupational safety and health in national economies

In addition to existing statutory obligations and human factors, the savings achievable as a result of process optimization represent a particular key motive for prevention effort at both commercial enterprises and public authorities. The elimination of operational interruptions caused by issues such as machine malfunction, material faults and illness or occupational accidents amongst employees is a goal shared by all companies.

In view of the resultant competitiveness on a macroeconomic level (see Figure 1), there is a clear link between the competitiveness of a national economy and its level of occupational safety and health (OHS).

Figure 2 compares competitiveness index (source: Porter/ Sala-i-Martin/ Schwab; The Global Competitiveness Report 2007-2008) with number of accidental deaths reported to the ILO (source: LABORSTA Internet; as of the 08.07.2008).

On the basis of the date included in Figure 2, the correlation coefficient between "number of accidental deaths" (y-axis) and "competitiveness index" (x-axis) stands at -0.427. As such, an increase in the competitiveness index of a national economy should lead to a decrease in the number of accidental deaths reported.


Dr. Thomas Kohstall
Institute for Work and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IAG)
Head of Department Qualification
Tel.: +49 30 13001-2300