How economics impact work health and safety


We have all at some point in life been guilty of assuming health and safety signs, in our offices, roads or even the place of work. However, there is a great relationship of work health and safety and economic growth. Maintaining workplace safety and health aims at preventing workers from taking sick leave or leaving a job. It also entails taking care of our wellbeing at the places of work. The government plays an important role in ensuring people’s health and safety at work through different agencies. For an instant, OSHA is an agency that aims at ensuring employees are working in a healthful and safe environment. This is by providing training, outreach, education, assistance, and setting standards. The study below aims at exploring the impact that economics has on work health and safety.

When it comes to working health and safety, the question is not if there will be any occurrence but when the business or a company will experience a vital enterprise-wide disaster or an accident. There is a variety of option that can be considered to extend the “when” even to a point of making it never happen. Specialists and the general public have a different perspective on what economics is. Most people think of money management almost all the time when they encounter the word economics. However, the economics of work health and safety focuses more on how better working conditions can contribute more profits to the business. Workplace illness and injuries are health matters but are also matters of economics (Jain, Leka, & Zwetsloot, 2018). This is because they work is an economic activity and is where all this fact stems from. Therefore economic analysis has a great contribution to our management and understanding of occupational safety and health.

For one to be able to understand what impacts economics has on workplace health and safety, it very important to distinguish economics from other social sciences. First economics focuses basically on an economy that is how communities or individuals produce, distribute and consume commodities. A person thinking economically is in a position to think in an outcome-oriented manner. Entirely his or her decisions are based on the consequences of the actions be it positive or negative. Therefore what plays the central role in economic reasoning is the cost and benefit calculus (Barrett, & Sargeant, 2016). With such a mind, one is able to relate economical elements and get to understand how they affect each other. There are different purposes that economics can impact worker health and safety as illustrated below.

To begin with, economics helps in measuring and identifying the economic cost of workplace diseases and injuries. Understanding the cost that these illnesses and injuries can bring to the company motivates people to take workplace health and safety more seriously. This helps all levels of the enterprise to be able to understand the value of employee’s health and safety (Jain, Leka, & Zwetsloot, 2018). Upon the occurrence of an accident, there is pain and suffering which causes a negative effect on the employee’s family. Besides, through economic analysis one is able to realize that such accidents reduce the physical capacity of the employee. This leads to production losses and increased insurance premiums. Most of the people find it difficult to evaluate this from an economic perspective.

Secondly economics help in understanding the connection between safety problems and the functioning of firms and markets. There are problems that may arise in relation to workplace health and safety and are crucial to the success of public policy. one is able to get an answer to questions like, why a specific group of workers is at greater risk and why are some sector having better conditions than others? In addition through economic analysis, it is possible to evaluate the likely effect of changes in social insurance coverage, new international patterns of investment and trade as well as government regulations. Finally, yet importantly, modern society has other goals in addition to protection of workers well-being and health. Through economic analysis, people are able to realize when safeguarding working conditions is working as complementary to other social goals. Therefore from economic analysis, the central concept is cost. There is a cost of not improving the conditions of the workplace and there is also the cost of improving the workplace conditions. Therefore, with the economics one is able to evaluate the difference and make informed decisions.

Taking a risky job

Taking a job that most people are shy off requires confident of oneself an abilities. For one to take a risky job, he or she must be aware of the risk involved. Therefore, such people work well under pressure without being distracted. Therefore I tend to believe that there must be something that pushes people to take risky jobs. This is motivated by their detail orientation and a keen sense of awareness for that kind of environment. Other than self courage and confidence, people take risk jobs because of other purposes. One of the main reasons is the lack of option. There are a number of qualifications that are required during job interviews (“What Drives People to Work in Risky Occupations?” 2015). Such requirements are education qualifications and experience. Due to lack of academic qualifications, people are forced to take risky jobs because they don’t suit to other jobs with less risk. You find that workers within riskier jobs and are less educated are paid relatively the same as the ones who are in safe jobs and are educated. Other factors that motivate people to take risky jobs are payments. It is generally known that a job that involves a lot of risks is well paid and therefore there are people who will prefer the job to a safer one with less payment. Therefore I would say that workers do not take the jobs freely, but as pushed by circumstances.

Addicted to risks by Naomi Klein

Naomi in her Ted talk is trying to evaluate the reasons why people are continuously taking great risks. Such risks involve continuously mining oil in the Gulf of Mexico despite the occurrence of the BP oil spill. The CEO of the mine claims that the Gulf is big enough to absorb the pollution caused by the spill. Naomi says that other than greed and hubris, people continue with these great risks because of the underlying assumptions of limitlessness (“Naomi Klein: Addicted to risk,” 2015). People are now involved in dangerous mining oil in the Gulf of Mexico without realizing that the mess that they cause to the environment is greater than the income gained from the mining. She says that it is no different from a civilized person committing suicide that people are involving such mining activities that cause a lot of damages to the environment. I strongly agree with her, in the argument that we need stories that will replace the mind of endless growth. People need to realize that there is no time technology will be able to control nature and stop taking such risks. However, I find Naomi’s talk giving more examples other than the solution. Therefore the question remains what should be done about the risk-addicted nature of people.



Barrett, B., & Sargeant, M. (2016). The Health, Safety, and Well-being of Vulnerable Workers. Vulnerable Workers, 1-20.

Jain, A., Leka, S., & Zwetsloot, G. I. (2018). Work, Health, Safety, and Well-Being: Current State of the Art. Aligning Perspectives on Health, Safety, and Well-Being, 1-31.

Naomi Klein: Addicted to risk. (2015, February 1). Retrieved from

What Drives People to Work in Risky Occupations? (2015, July 23). Retrieved from

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