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Spending Review 2004

Health and Safety Public Service Agreement. Measurement of progress. Technical note.

As a part of the 2004 Government Spending Review, HSE has proposed a new Public Service Agreement to:

By 2008 improve health and safety outcomes in Great Britain through progressive improvement in the control of risks in the workplace.

Progress will be measured against the following targets:

  1. That the three health and safety outcome indicators used for the Revitalising Health and Safety (RHS) targets will reduce over the SR2004 period (2005-06 to 2007-08) by proportions consistent with the Health and Safety Executive’s published ten-year targets [1]. This means the following target reductions, to workers, against a 2004-05 baseline:
    • the incidence rate of work-related fatal and major injuries: 3 per cent by 2007-08;
    • the incidence rate of work-related ill health: 6 per cent by 2007-08;
    • the number of days lost due to injuries and ill health: 9 per cent by 2007-08.
  2. That the numbers of recorded major hazard precursor incidents will reduce by levels as previously agreed and published in joint HSE and industry targets for onshore hazards, offshore hazards and the nuclear industry. These targets are published in the Health and Safety Commission’s Business Plan 2005-06.

The PSA target will be considered to be fully met only if all the targets listed above, i.e. the three RHS sub-targets and the three major hazards sub-targets, are achieved separately.

The PSA target will be considered partly met if:

1. Data sources for the three RHS indicators on health and safety outcomes

For work-related injuries, data is gathered from reports made by employers and others [2] to estimate the incidence of work-related fatal and major injuries. The Labour Force Survey (LFS) measure of all reportable injury will be used as well as the fatal and major injury measure to give a fuller view of work-related injuries that is not subject to under-reporting.

For work-related ill health, data is gathered from SWI [3] household surveys and other sources including THOR [4] specialist doctor monitoring schemes, the Industrial Injuries Scheme disablement benefit compensation data and death certificates.

Estimates of days lost due to work-related injury and ill health come from LFS/SWI surveys.

In addition, the new workplace survey currently being developed (see below) will provide data on the three RHS indicators and there will be further development of other sources of data on work-related ill health and days lost over the period from April 2005 to March 2008.

The three measures of RHS outcomes described above are subject to sampling error/statistical uncertainty. To maximise the ability to detect change, the judgement on progress will be based on analysis of movements from all relevant data sources. Information from the new Workplace Health and Safety Survey along with data on risk control collected by HSE’s inspectors will also be used as evidence to support the judgement on progress.

The Workplace Health and Safety Survey (WHASS)

For 2004-05 HSE is developing a workplace-based survey of the health and safety of the workforce in Great Britain. The WHASS, being based on self-reports, will cover the full range of ill health and safety outcomes and will measure the RHS indicators. It will also measure the control of risks related to health and safety systems, policies and climate (to be asked of both employees and employers) and working conditions (to be asked of employees). The WHASS survey will be piloted in Winter 2004-05. Results of the WHASS will be designed to be National Statistics and to meet the associated quality standards.

Risk Control Indicators (RCIs)

Since 2002-03 inspectors in HSE’s Field Operations Directorate have recorded information on their contacts with employers concerning eight topics or hazards (falls from height, musculoskeletal disorders, workplace transport, slips and trips, stress, hand arm vibration, noise and asthma), including their assessment of performance on a number of ‘risk control indicators’. The database comprises over 30,000 observations per year, but has limitations in terms of how representative and reliable it is. HSE plans further work on quality assurance, including independent research, with the aim that the RCIs will become sufficiently robust to fulfil the criteria for National Statistics. HSE is also developing other indicators for particular hazards/programmes.

2. Reports on major hazard precursor incidents

Data are available on reports of ‘precursor incidents’ - incidents that, if they occur, have the potential to contribute to a chain of circumstances leading to a catastrophic event. For the purposes of this target data will be drawn from three sources:

The sources of data used to measure progress against this target vary in their frequency and timeliness, so the judgement of progress at any point will use the latest available data. The table below shows when data from each source is published.

Publication schedule for data sources

Source Publication frequency Data period covered in next publication Publication date
LFS/SWI Annual(a) December 2003 - February 2004 November 2004
WHASS Biennial December 2004 - March 2005 November 2005
THOR Annual 2003 August 2004
RCIs Quarterly(b) January - March 2004 August 2004
Death certificates Annual 2002(c) August 2004
Industrial injury scheme cases Annual(d) 2003 August 2004
Major hazard indicators Quarterly(e) April - June 2004 August 2004
  1. Subject to agreement of LFS.
  2. Analysed within HSE (and reported to Ministers) quarterly, published annually in November.
  3. Mesothelioma, the main disease from this source, is often subject to delayed registration.
  4. DWP publishes summary data quarterly.
  5. Analysed within HSE (and reported to Ministers) quarterly; much of the underlying data made publicly available.

  1. See RHS Strategy Statement.
  2. Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) – see RIDDOR.
  3. Self-reported Work-related Illness surveys, linked to the Labour Force Survey.
  4. The Health and Occupation Reporting network.
Updated 2012-11-28