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Economic evaluation of occupational health services: necessary, challenging and promising
  1. Jeroen Luyten1,2,
  2. Jonas Steel1,
  3. Lode Godderis3,4
  1. 1Leuven Institute for Healthcare Policy, KULeuven, Leuven, Belgium
  2. 2PSSRU, London School of Economics & Political Science, London, UK
  3. 3Environment and Health, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  4. 4IDEWE, External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jeroen Luyten, Leuven Institute for Healthcare Policy, KULeuven, Kapucijnenvoer 35, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; jeroen.luyten{at}kuleuven.be

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In many countries occupational health services (OHS) are increasingly pressurised due to a lack of resources or on-going shortages of available occupational health physicians and professionals.1 2 A recent survey of 500 employers in the UK indicated that 'businesses are not clear on how much absence is costing them (54%), and less than half (46%) believe the measures they currently have in place to reduce absence have clear benefits’.3 At the same time, it is widely acknowledged that people’s state of health and working conditions are closely connected, that a substantial fraction of the physical and mental disease burden has its origins in the work environment, and that occupational health professionals have particular skills in tackling these health problems.4 5

The benefits of OHS include protecting and promoting workers’ health and well-being and organising employee re-integration after illness, but also extend beyond that. For employers, a healthy workforce implies gains in worker productivity and engagement, reduced litigation costs and improved corporate image. …

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