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News

HSE Updates costs to Britain of workplace accidents and work-related ill health

HSE InfoLine : 08 October, 2004  (Company News)
The Health and Safety Executive has prepared interim updated estimates of the costs to Britain of workplace accidents and work-related ill health. These indicate that in 2001/02 health and safety failures cost.
The Health and Safety Executive has prepared interim updated estimates of the costs to Britain of workplace accidents and work-related ill health. These indicate that in 2001/02 health and safety failures cost

employers between 3.9 - 7.8 billion,
individuals between 10.1- 14.7 billion,
the economy between 13.1 - 22.2 billion, and
society as a whole between 20 - 31.8 billion.
The new estimates also quantify the major cost categories that make up the totals. For employers, figures are given by industry sector, occupation and region.

HSE has published two previous sets of cost estimates using data from 1990 and 1995/96. These have been used widely within HSE to inform strategic policy, new programme development, appraisals of policy proposals (e.g. Regulatory Impact Assessments) and, more recently, evaluations of HSE's impact. The information has also been used to answer enquiries from other government departments, the private sector, employer organisations, trade unions, academics and the public.

To carry out these detailed calculations, HSE needs to draw on a large amount of data from many different sources. The full set of data required will not be available until 2005, so HSE has produced an interim update using the best available occupational injury and illness data from 2001/02. Where there are gaps in the data, assumptions have been made and changes in prices and incomes have also been taken into account.

The updated figures carry some limitations. The estimates are only meant as broad indications of cost and a review of the previous update has led to HSE adopting proportionately wider ranges for many of them. This better reflects the uncertainty in the figures.

Finally, only broad comparisons can be made between the 1995/96 and 2001/02 estimates, and even these must be treated with caution as there are differences in the design of the 1995 and the 2001/02 Self-reported Work-related Illness surveys (part of the ONS Labour Force Survey) that provided the bulk of the data used in calculating the ill health cost estimates.

Interim update of 'The costs to Britain of workplace accidents and work-related ill health in 1995/96' can be found on HSE's website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/dayslost.htm
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