In the context of overarching targets for the reduction of workplace injury rates, the aim of this report is to provide an assessment of what factors within the broader economic environment may contribute towards changes in the incidence of workplace injuries over time. Analysis reveals that the rates of major injury follow a pro-cyclical pattern over the course of the business cycle. This pro-cyclical pattern appears to be related to changes in the incidence of new hires over the business cycle. In terms of understanding downward trends in injury rates, these are largely driven by changes in the occupational composition of employment; particularly in terms of the balance between manual and non-manual occupations. Geographical variations in workplace injury rates can also be explained by differences in the personal, establishment and job related characteristics of those working within these regions. Based upon detailed occupational projections of employment, rates of workplace injury are expected to decline by approximately 6 to 8% by 2012. Whether comparisons of injury rates are being made over time, across regions, between industries or along other dimensions, these rates should be occupationally specific to ensure that ‘like with like’ comparisons are being made.
This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.
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