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RR585 - The cost of non-injury accidents

This scoping study explored the feasibility of different options for collecting the data required by the Health and Safety Executive for the calculation of the overall cost of workplace accidents.

The aim of the research was to undertake a small scale study of how information on non-injury accidents and associated costs are collected by businesses, and to examine the feasibility of different options for gathering information about the cost of non-injury accidents to businesses. The survey findings are qualitative and for illustrative purposes only.

Commonly reported barriers to collecting the information were time and resources. The findings show that many companies would not be interested in considering potential costs for anything that was less than their insurance excess. It was thought that the time resource required calculating information below this level of 'detail' was not considered cost effective.

Several interviewees reported there was a general problem of underreporting of near misses by staff and, therefore, thought that gathering information on non-injury accidents or anything not required under Health and Safety Law would be a problem. A further problem was the lack of an incentive that would justify the use of time and resources for collecting this type of information. Some incentives were suggested and could arise from perceived business benefits or compliance with regulations.

The study found that, dependent on businesses collecting data on non-injury accidents, there are several ways for HSE to collect that information, for example a large-scale survey, a case study approach or a pilot study.

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 2021-04-21