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RR692 - Assessing the cumulative economic impacts of health and safety regulations

The aim of this study was to identify and analyse evidence on the cumulative economic impacts of health and safety regulations.

The study examined two types of cumulative economic effects – the impact of regulations on business performance and, secondly, the wider effects on other groups in society and society overall. The research, which involved a review of about 100 items of original research from the UK, Europe and elsewhere, included several case studies examining the impact of three regulations (COSHH, Asbestos at Work, and Work at Height) on two sectors (Construction and Chemicals).

The focus on the cumulative economic impacts of health and safety regulations distinguishes this study from other studies and the approach of assessing the economic impacts of individual health and safety regulations in isolation from one another. The purpose of the research was to support efforts within the HSE (and elsewhere in the UK Government) to conceptualise and measure the impacts associated with health and safety regulations, in order to deliver improved health and safety outcomes while minimising regulatory burdens.

The study was carried out for the Health and Safety Executive by the Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services (CSES) in 2008.

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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Updated 2010-03-19