Effectiveness of economic incentives to improve occupational safety and health

'Economic incentives' - a new publication by the European Agency for Safety and
Health at Work - aim to stimulate enterprises to invest in management of
occupational safety and health (OSH) by making it more financially attractive.
They are potentially strong instruments in driving companies towards safety and
health excellence because they reinforce the link with profitability.

By 'speaking the language of business', economic incentives are effective in
drawing the attention of companies' management to safety and health issues.
Furthermore, economic incentives allow companies themselves to find the most
cost-efficient way of improving safety and health.

To be considered successful, incentives must in general stimulate actions by
the company that are both beyond what is already required by law and would not
otherwise have been carried out. However, assessment of their effectiveness is
not straightforward in practice and systematic empirical assessments of
existing incentives are rare.

The need for greater understanding of the effectiveness of economic incentives
in promoting safety and health has grown more apparent following the European
Commission's call for a 'more systematic application of economic incentives' as
an important 'innovative approach'. Economic incentives are considered an
approach that 'encourages the various parties "to go a step further" and to
associate all the interested parties in achieving the overall objectives of the
strategy'. Given that there exist several types of economic incentive, the
following questions may be asked:

  • Which type is most effective, if any?
  • What is the most successful method of implementation?

This new publication, based on a workshop organised by the Agency, aims to
contribute to the discussion on the effectiveness of economic incentives by
presenting the main issues raised by invited experts and by giving some
practical examples.

Economic incentives of various types exist in all Member States of the European
Union and the Agency has created a web feature with links to information about

Further Information

AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work