Work-Related Illnesses and Injuries Cost EU 3.3% of its GDP

At the recent XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Singapore, representatives of EU-OSHA and the ILO presented new estimates of the costs of poor occupational health and safety.

They estimate that worldwide, the cost of work-related illnesses and injuries is roughly 3.9% of total GDP, roughly 2.7 trillion euros annually. The EU is estimated to lose 3.3% of its GDP to occupational illness and injury, or 470 billion euros annually.

These estimates came from a major project aiming to estimate the costs and benefits of investing in better occupational health and safety. 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.

Further findings presented at the World Congress include:

  • Work-related illnesses account for 86 percent of all deaths related to work worldwide, and 98 percent 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 percent of the EU’s GDP), with musculoskeletal disorders being the second-largest contributor.

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