Course leader presentation: Guy Ahonen
The Economics of Occupational Safety and Health
27th – 29th of April 2020, Quality Hotel The Mill, Malmö, Sweden
What is your background?
I am former professor of human resource accounting at Hanken Business School in Helsinki and former research professor at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH), responsible for the economic aspects of work-related health. I am still an active researcher in the field. I publish and have ongoing research projects on the financial effects of management and leadership of companies.
My book “Annual Human Resource Accounts” (in Finnish) introduced the concept of the title in Finland in 1998. Over the years I have, together with my colleagues, managed to demonstrate that occupational health and safety activities in many cases are feasible for companies and other organizations, also from an economic point of view.
Why do you think the economics of OSH is an important and current issue to discuss in 2020?
Many leaders, managers and professionals have limited knowledge about the economic consequences of work well-being activities. Therefore, many organizations under-invest in occupational health and safety or make wrong choices in this regard. It is not widely known how good personnel management has huge productivity potential, making it an under-exploited resource.
From a societal point of view this is an issue about billions of euros and dollars every year and could solve some of the public deficit problems of many countries. The economics of occupational health and safety has moved from simple cost-benefit calculations to more advanced productivity estimations, using sophisticated econometric techniques. An example of this is the recent report about management and productivity (Johtaminen ja tuottavuus) published at Aalto University in 2019, which will also be presented at the course.
What would you like to say to the participants of the course?
You may have a need to make deeper analysis of the personnel management policies at your organization, or your work well-being activities may face threats of decrease or elimination. If so, you need to strengthen your theoretical and operational skills regarding the financial analysis of OHS.
These skills may also be needed if you are in charge of national OHS policies. The course covers both conceptual and practical tools for analyzing OHS. The speakers at the course are world-class in the field and have decades of experience of current issues.