Over the years, practitioners and researchers have suggested that one of the best ways to prevent and control occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities is to design out or minimize hazards and risks early in the design process. The most current demonstration of this belief lies in the development and approval of a voluntary national consensus standard—ANSI/ASSE Z590.3-2011, Prevention through Design Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Hazards and Risks in Design and Redesign Processes. This standard was conceived to provide "consistent procedures for addressing occupational hazards and risks in the design and redesign processes" and incorporated key concepts from prior efforts, such as the National Safety Council's Institute for Safety by Design, and other existing standards (ANSI/ASSE 2011).

Despite the attention to ensuring the safety and health of workers through the application of prevention through design (PtD) concepts, too many promising control technologies (engineering design solutions)—those grounded in PtD—have not been transferred from research into practice. Although proof of preventing occupational injury, illness, or fatality alone has often driven industry to make changes, the lack of adoption of these effective solutions has clearly demonstrated that there were others reasons behind safety, health and environmental (SH&E) business decisions. Organizations continually face increased global competition, rapidly changing technology, and decreased access to scarce resources. Under these conditions, SH&E efforts to insure a safe and healthful work environment must compete with other organizational needs. Without compelling information about the value of SH&E efforts to the organization, management may view these programs and activities as a lower priority than projects that have established a clearer connection to their bottom line. The challenge for occupational safety and health professionals is to describe the value of SH&E efforts in terms that are understood and accepted within the business community. A business case addresses that challenge.

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