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Interim update of the “Costs to Britain of Workplace Accidents and Work-Related Ill Health”
   

Background
1. This explanatory note provides estimates of the total costs to individuals, employers and society of workplace accidents and work-related ill health. It also discusses the categories of costs that make up the totals and it presents estimates for the major categories. For employers, figures are given by sector, occupation and region.
2. In their efforts to reduce harm within society, the government and its partners need to identify where the greatest burdens of health and safety failures fall. Estimates of the costs to the key stakeholders can help. Although the estimates can never show how easy or successful attempts to reduce harm might be, they nevertheless provide a good starting point from which to analyse the problems.
3. Previously, HSE has published two sets of estimates of the cost of accidents and ill health using data firstly from 1990 and then from 1995/96. These publications have been used widely within HSC/E to inform strategic policy, new programme development, appraisals of policy proposals (Regulatory Impact Assessments), and more recently, evaluations of HSE’s impact. The information has also been used to provide evidence to the Treasury during spending reviews and to answer many hundreds of minor enquiries from colleagues in HSE, other government departments, the press, the private sector, employer organisations, trade unions, academics and the public.

The current update
4. To carry out these detailed calculations, HSE needs to draw on a large amount of data, from many different sources. The next year for which all the required data will be available, is 2004/5. To fill the gap, HSE has provided an interim update by using the best available occupational injury and illness data from 2001/02. Assumptions have been made to fill the gaps in the data, and previously used figures have been changed to account for general changes in prices and incomes.
5. The figures from this interim update carry some limitations. Firstly, the estimates are only meant as broad indications of cost. Secondly, a review of the previous update led to to the adoption of proportionately wider ranges for many of the estimates. This better reflects the uncertainty in the figures. Finally, only broad comparisons can be made between the 95/96 and 01/02 estimates, and even these need to be treated with caution. Unfortunately there are differences in the design of the 1995 and the 2001/02 SWI surveys that provided the bulk of the data used in the calculation of the ill health cost estimates.
 

[2012-11-27]
 
 
 
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