The work as a “natural vocation” of man: thus the philosopher Fourier represented it. Factor of personal realization, privileged channel of integration and social reconciliation, fundamental right of the individual and together, according to the Italian Constitution, activity that contributes to the progress of society. Safety in the workplace is a common non-negotiable value, and is the essential basis for healthy and inclusive economic development.
If these are the principles to be tended to, unfortunately accidents and deaths in the workplace are still widespread. Effective measures and good practices that promote the culture of safety and prevention are always more necessary to make the production process more efficient, eliminating and keeping under control the main risk factors.
Promoting a culture of safety means overcoming a still widespread line of thought according to which the fulfillment of the regulatory obligation, often understood as an organizational burden and obstacle, is the only condition for effectively managing risk prevention and the protection of health and safety in the workplace.
An appropriate prevention system must instead be fed by the awareness of all workers and can be implemented thanks to the voluntary certification of the occupational health and safety management system. Therefore it becomes an essential component of a healthy and efficient business management, as well as an investment with potential high business and social returns: just think that in 2016 in Italy work-related accidents have caused about 11 million days of disability, at the Inail’s expense.
In order to be effective, any prevention practice aimed at guiding individual and collective behavior towards reducing or eliminating health and safety risks must be included in business strategies, not only as an ethical value, but as an organizational development factor and competitive advantage.
The most recent legislation, both national and international, completes the individual aspect of the right to health with the collective one. At a socio-cultural level, the transition from a social protection system based on the protection from diseases to a system focused on the protection of health, that is state of complete physical, psychic and social well-being, as defined by the World Health Organization, is underway.
Today, safety is a multidimensional approach that takes into consideration many aspects – health, physical, psychological, legal, social, cultural and economic – and involves various subjects – institutions, social partners, companies and associations – identifying the individual worker as a beneficiary, but included in its community of belonging.
In this scenario, many companies have chosen to adopt an occupational health and safety management system according to BS OHSAS 18001 and UNI ISO 45001 (which will replace it from March 2021) and to obtain the related certification through a certification body accredited by Accredia.
The transition from a basic level of safety to a certified level of safety leads to a decrease in the number of accidents equal to about 16%, and a reduction in their severity of 40%, as shown by the study carried out by Inail for the Accredia Osservatorio “Occupational health and safety certification”, which compares the work-related accident rates of the certified companies with those not certified, in the various sectors identified by the Inail tariff groups.