Objectives The cost of prevention is often taken as an excuse for not acting or not fully implementing all required measures for effective OSH. Prevention is often presented as a matter of regulation and obligations, and the economic return of prevention actions is rarely studied. Based on field studies and experience, OPPBTP demonstrates with more than 200 practical cases that prevention pays, with an average ROI of 2.33. Online tools are being developed to facilitate the practice with construction management.
Methods OPPBTP developed a business case study, with accounting techniques. The methodology enables to identify all the operational impacts of the studied cases, short and long term, whether beneficial for productivity, quality, business activity, and to quantify them in term of financial impact. High interest from major French construction companies led OPPBTP to develop both training tools to transfer the know-how to a large population of OSH experts, and develop an online tool for case calculation. CPWR developed similar cases and tools. CPWR developed as well ROI calculation tools, based on standard US accounting standards.
Results More than 200 specific prevention cases, ranging from new equipment to training schemes or process improvement projects have been studied, showing an average return on investment equal to 2.33! Moreover, the work and its methodology enable OSH experts to include prevention action within the business logic that is first and foremost in private companies, and develop new arguments to convince managers and workers alike that prevention and production go hand in hand.
Conclusion Prevention pays! This popular motto among OSH experts needs to be demonstrated in a simple and convincing manner for frontline managers, and adequate tools be made available to them. This approach is complementary to existing academic studies that tend to demonstrate the same results, however addressing a different public. This study enabled not only to bring proof about the positive economic return of prevention, but it enabled to change the way companies look at prevention, and the way preventors look at economics. This is a very interesting finding of our studies.
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