We present a method for incorporating business analysis into comprehensive health and safety consultations using as an example a plant with an elevated incidence of cumulative trauma disorders. Business in formation, including product and management history, short- and long-term corporate goals, functional analysis, profit history, organizational structure with respect to health and safety, and personnel and labor-management relationships are evaluated simultaneously with traditional ergonomic factors. The additional business data allow consultants to identify the full scope of etiologies and make practical, credible recommendations that are more likely to be adopted by management and labor. We propose that techniques of “business analysis” be routinely incorporated into occupational health and safety consultations. However, because collection and interpretation of these data require business skills outside the occupational safety and health expert's usual repertoire, the consulting team must include participants with business expertise. We have found that occupational health medical personnel with an understanding of business analysis concepts can be very effective advocates for changes in health and safety practices. We strongly recommend incorporating methods of business analysis into the occupational health and safety curriculum.
©1991 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine