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The Value of Safety and Health Initiatives to Businesses

Through a partnership between Xavier University, the National Safety Council (NSC), and NIOSH, a course was developed to introduce master's level students at the Williams College of Business to the business value of safety and health. The course was designed to include 15 2.5-hour-long sessions. A syllabus example that is based on the actual syllabus for this course is provided below. Links to additional materials will be provided as they become available. Building on the success of this course, NIOSH is in the process of developing modules on this general topic that can be incorporated in many other courses, schools, and departments.

The Business Value of Safety and Health: A Course Syllabus Example

Course Objectives:

This course discusses the business value of corporate social responsibility that incorporates the employer’s perspective on worker safety and health, employee wellness and health promotion, and environmental stewardship. Management theory and key elements of successful programs are defined and students are taught metrics and practical methods for conducting cost-benefit analyses to assess the value of programs that protect and promote worker safety and health.

Business case studies are reviewed to demonstrate applied examples of successes and potential obstacles. Implications will be discussed for continued process improvements through: risk management, organizational behavior and decision making, operations management, leadership, and communication.

Students are required to develop new case studies of cost-benefit analyses and present findings in interactive workshops. A field trip to a local company is conducted to review exemplary practices. Guest lectures, panel discussions, and a mock board meeting provides students with insights on the best practices for health, safety, wellness, and environmental programs, and examples of how companies achieve positive returns on investment from these programs.

Topics:
  • Session 1
    • Course overview
    • Introduction to the business value of health, safety, wellness, and the environment (HSWE) - the landscape of organizational sustainability: risk management, organizational behavior and decision making, operations management, leadership, and communication
  • Session 2
    • Review the literature on the business value of worker safety and health
    • Review introductory case studies and critique their range of quality and methodology
    • Metrics for HSWE programs
  • Session 3
    • NSC Case 1: Noble Corporation - Project Windmillexternal link
    • Case study review and interactive session
  • Session 4
    • Occupational safety and health (OSH) program management overview
    • Key elements of successful OSH programs such as ANSI Z10 [link Z10 to www.nssn.org/search/DetailResults.aspx?docid=339026&selnode] and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP)
    • Utilization of existing management systems such as total quality management, continuous improvement, six sigma, lean manufacturing, ISO14001external link
    • Compliance versus excellence
  • Session 5
    • Key OSH metrics: Leading and trailing program indicators
    • NIOSH perspective: Prevention through Design (PtD) and the hierarchy of controls : engineering, administrative, work practice, personal protective equipment
    • Cases: Risk management and HSWE organizational decision-making
    • Business case workshop project assignment
  • Session 6
    • The economics of HSWE, including market and government Influences
    • Research to Practice (R2P)
    • Introduction to economic evaluations of OSH interventions
  • Session 7
    • Economic analyses at the employer’s level (cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, cost-utility)
    • Analyses comparison
    • Valuation of costs and benefits, both direct and indirect, including health outcomes, productivity, and quality
    • Calculating and presenting summary measures
  • Session 8
    • Organizational behavior and HSWE benefit assessment
    • Linkages between HSWE and productivity, quality, employee morale
    • Metrics for assessment
    • Team project assignment
  • Session 9
    • NSC Case 2: DynMcDermott Petroleumexternal link
    • Operations management: Discussion of efficient and effective HSWE programs integration
  • Session 10
  • Session 11
    • HSWE insurance forum
    • Metrics
  • Session 12
    • Environmental stewardship overview
    • Compliance versus stewardship
    • The value of Green
    • Environmental metrics
  • Session 13
    • Capstone
    • Building the framework for cultural paradigm shift
    • Student project workshop
  • Session 14
    • Mock board meeting
  • Session 15
    • Final team project presentations
 
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  • Page last reviewed: December 13, 2012
  • Page last updated: December 13, 2012
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