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Appraisal values or 'unit costs'

HSE statistics show that each year, over a million workers are injured or made ill by their work in Great Britain. This can have serious effects on these individuals and their families, as well as employers, government and wider society. The impacts can be measured in terms of ‘human’ costs (the impact on the individual’s quality of life and, for fatal injuries, loss of life), and ‘financial’ costs, such as loss of production and healthcare costs. HSE’s estimate of the total costs of workplace injuries and ill health includes both financial costs and a valuation of human costs.

Estimates of average costs per case of workplace injury or ill health are important in the economic appraisal of policy interventions.  Policy appraisal involves comparing the costs of any proposed new health and safety interventions against the likely benefits (in terms of reduced costs associated with reduced workplace ill health and injury cases) the proposed measure is likely to deliver.

These ‘appraisal values’ are estimated by dividing the total cost estimates by the number of new incidence cases. This can be done for the same range of incident types as for which total cost estimates are produced, namely:

Whilst the appraisal values reflect a broad range of cost categories, for simplicity of presentation the appraisal values can be divided into two main component costs:

The average appraisal values for 2016/17 are summarised below, giving the overall cost per case, financial costs per case and human costs per case. In most cases these are the values that should be used for HSE regulatory impact assessments and cost benefit analysis of health and safety interventions. Given the considerable uncertainties inherent in these estimates (see the annual costs report for further explanation), we recommend that sensitivity analysis is undertaken to test the sensitivity of the appraisal outcome to changes in these values (as well as other variables). The user should also consider whether the injury and ill health classifications above are appropriate for the injury and ill health types under consideration, or whether the values should be adjusted or other more specific sought.

Table 1: Costs to Society per case – average appraisal value estimates (£ in 2016 prices)

 

Human cost (rounded)  Financial cost (rounded) Total cost (rounded)
Fatal injuries

£ 1,203,000

£ 414,200

£ 1,617,000

Non-fatal injuries

£ 5,300

£ 3,100

£ 8,400

7 or more days absence

£ 19,700

£ 10,400

£ 30,100

Up to 6 days absence

£ 330

£ 550

£ 880

Ill health

£ 9,700

£ 8,700

£ 18,400

7 or more days absence

£ 20,000

£ 17,700

£ 37,700

Up to 6 days absence

£ 360

£ 620

£ 980

Source: HSE Cost model

Note:

(i) Totals may not sum due to rounding.
(ii) These estimates are subject to uncertainty due to both sampling variability in the injury and ill health incidence estimates and uncertainty in the underpinning prices and assumptions used to estimate costs.  The cost model accounts for the former uncertainty although this range of uncertainty is not shown in the table.

Appraisal values specific to individuals, employers or Government

The ‘Costs to Britain’ cost model also produces appraisal values for the broad groups that bear part of the overall costs to society: individuals, employers and the Government (the 'cost bearers'). These appraisal values reflect only the costs incurred by each cost bearer and do not take into account the net effects of transfers, such as benefits payments from Government to individuals. They therefore are not normally suitable for sole use in social cost benefit analysis of interventions. However, it can be useful to demonstrate the impact of a policy on a particular group within distributional analysis - for example using the costs to employers' appraisal values to estimate the value of any avoided injury or ill health (i.e. the benefits). Indeed enquiries to HSE on the costs of work-related injuries and ill health often request the costs to only one group, such as 'employers' or 'workers'.

The following tables present appraisal values reflecting only the costs to a particular cost bearer.

Table 2: Costs to individuals per case – average appraisal value estimates (£ in 2016 prices)

 

Human Costs (rounded) Financial Costs (rounded) Total Costs (rounded)
Workplace fatal accidents

£ 1,203,000

£ 214,300

£ 1,417,000

Non-fatal injuries

£ 5,300

-£ 130

£ 5,200

7 or more days absence

£ 19,700

-£ 660

£ 19,000

Up to 6 days absence

£ 330

£ 50

£ 370

Ill Health

£ 9,700

£ 400

£ 10,100

7 or more days absence

£ 20,000

£ 730

£ 20,700

Up to 6 days absence

£ 360

£ 90

£ 450

Source: HSE Cost model

Note:

See notes (i) and (ii):  from Table 1
(iii) These estimates show negative financial costs (net financial income) on average for non-fatal injuries and non-fatal injuries with 7 or more days absence – this is entirely plausible (as insurance payouts partially compensate for quality of life losses (‘human costs’) but are accounted for in our model only under financial costs).

Table 3: Costs to employers per case – average appraisal value estimates (£ in 2016 prices)

 

Human Costs (rounded) Financial Costs (rounded) Total Costs (rounded)
Workplace fatal accidents

 -

£ 99,700

£ 99,700

Non-fatal injuries

-

£ 1,400

£ 1,400

7 or more days absence

-

£ 5,100

£ 5,100

Up to 6 days absence

-

£ 110

£ 110

Ill Health

-

£ 4,000

£ 4,000

7 or more days absence

-

£ 8,300

£ 8,300

Up to 6 days absence

-

£ 150

£ 150

Source: HSE Cost model

Note:

See Notes (i) and (ii) from Table 1

Table 4: Costs to Government per case – average appraisal value estimates (£ in 2016 prices)

 

Human Costs (rounded) Financial Costs (rounded) Total Costs (rounded)
Workplace fatal accidents

 -

£ 100,200

£ 100,200

Non-fatal injuries

-

£ 1,800

£ 1,800

7 or more days absence

-

£ 5,900

£ 5,900

Up to 6 days absence

-

£ 390

£ 390

Ill Health

-

£ 4,300

£ 4,300

7 or more days absence

-

£ 8,700

£ 8,700

Up to 6 days absence

-

£ 380

£ 380

Source: HSE Cost model

Note:

See Notes (i) and (ii) from Table 1

Footnotes

1 HSE has published research which estimates the costs of new cases of work-related cancer arising from past working conditions. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1074.htm

2 For more details on the latest costs estimates, see www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/cost.htm.

Updated 2018-10-16