globalThe Labour Minister of Greece said workplace accidents cost his country more than a billion euros a year – and that doesn’t include the cost of treatments and permanent disability benefits.

Speaking recently at the European Occupational Safety and Health Conference in Athens, Yiannis Vroutsis said more investment was needed in health and safety, in order to control the high cost of workplace accidents across the European Union.

Yiannis Vroutsis estimated the global cost of occupational illness and accidents at 4% of the world GDP, according to The Greek Reporter. He went on to call this an “unacceptably high cost” that negatively affected insurance spending and productivity.

More than 4,000 workers die each year as a result of workplace accidents in Europe. Approximately three million lost time away from work due to occupational accidents.

Vroutsis said investing in safety and health in the workplace would be cost effective, yielding returns that would be, on average, 2.2 times the amount spent.

 Vroutis called for an emphasis on the "three major challenges identified by the European Commission for 2014-2020: the implementation of rules for health and safety in the workplace, preventing professional ailments and formulating policies that take into account the ageing of Europe's labor force."