NIOSH Works to Advance the “Business Case” for Job Safety, Health

Oct. 3, 2008
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Williams College of Business of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, are partnering under a new Memorandum of Understanding to advance the “business case” for the pivotal role that occupational safety and health consideration plays in corporate strategy and planning.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Williams College of Business of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, are partnering under a new Memorandum of Understanding to advance the “business case” for the pivotal role that occupational safety and health consideration plays in corporate strategy and planning.

NIOSH and the Williams College of Business will seek opportunities for “developing an improved understanding of the return on investment in occupational safety and health relating productivity to healthy workers,” the agreement stated. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed Aug. 8, 2008.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for reaching business leaders, notably America’s emerging generation of new executives and entrepreneurs, with the message that a safe and healthy workplace is a golden asset for a company in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace,” said NIOSH Acting Director Christine M. Branche, Ph.D.

“Corporate Social Responsibility is an important aspect of our mission,” added Dr. Raghu Tadepalli, Dean of the Graduate School of Business at Xavier. “By partnering with NIOSH, we want to raise the level of awareness in organizations about health and safety. Our goal is to train students to view health and safety as business investments and to demonstrate the return on investment on them.”

Working Together

NIOSH and the Williams College of Business pledged to work together under the Memorandum of Understanding in the following areas:

  • Encouraging the development of sound and effective research by business and economic scholars to investigate the relationship between effective programs to promote workplace safety and health and the associated costs and consequences to the nation, to employers and to the American worker;
  • Encouraging development of research that assesses the risks and magnitudes of the burdens imposed on industries, sectors and national productivity by occupational injury and illness events;
  • Promoting the transfer and workplace implementation of research findings on effective occupational injury prevention strategies and technologies;
  • Participating at public meetings, conferences and other key events where the assessment, management, and control of occupational safety and health issues are addressed;
  • Developing and disseminating information on occupational safety and health at appropriate conferences and through print and electronic media;
  • Advancing the effectiveness of occupational safety and health research;
  • Additionally, encouraging research that advances the public good and the cause of corporate citizenship through assessment of the various mechanisms by which economic burdens attach to business and public entities; and
  • Encouraging development of research that has the potential for practical impact in accordance with the NIOSH Research to Practice (r2p) research model.

Through the Memorandum of Understanding, NIOSH and Xavier, in partnership with the National Safety Council (NSC), are developing a course for MBA students on the “Business Value of Safety and Health,” which is scheduled for spring 2009. This course will address how business can use occupational safety and health improvements and initiatives for long-term planning, operations management and other decision-making.

In collaboration with NSC, the Robert W. Campbell Award for Safety/Health and Environment Business Case Studies will be integrated into the class. These are real-world cases from multiple industries that have capitalized on incorporating occupational safety and health into their respective business models. NSC also is linking Xavier and NIOSH with other MBA programs with whom the council has been working in developing business case studies.

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