The spreading of mandatory regulations on safety did not substantially imply, in the majority of the European countries, a correspondent reduction in the number of accidents at work. This is a source of high social costs and seems, above all, imputable to a not complete legislative conformity for a part of the productive organizations. The present study, after analysing the number of accidents at work in UE and the complex situation of control bodies in Italy, evidences that the target of inversion of tendency represents a social responsibility problem for every organization and can be reached through a correct evaluation of the costs of prevention and not prevention, first step for the voluntary or mandatory implementation of a safety and health management system. An active approach, trying to go “beyond law prescriptions”, could allow companies to obtain better results, both in terms of effectiveness and competitiveness development. Furthermore, the mandatory introduction in Europe of a safety management system, exclusively for the control of risks deriving from major accidents, did not take in consideration the existing standards and/or guidelines, i.e. the English OHSAS 18001, whose structure is similar to that of the ISO 14001 standard.
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