Supplementary memorandum from DWP, November
1. Further analysis of HSE's performance
against the PSA targets and in particular on increase in incidence
of ill health and workplace health-related days lost in 2006-07
The ill health estimates are derived from the
Labour Force Survey (LFS). Because of the uncertainties, mainly
due to sampling variation comparing any single year's estimate
with another can be misleading. Trends provide a sounder basis
for developing policy and so the proper conclusion is that we
won't know what is really happening until we have at least another
couple of years' estimates. Although the proportional increase
in incidence rate is striking, it represents a relatively small
proportion of the workforce: between the two most recent years
just one additional worker in 200 reported a work-related illness.
Although we can drill down below the national
level, estimates become increasingly uncertain because they are
based on fewer survey respondents. Notwithstanding this caveat,
the change between 2005-06 and 2006-07 does vary between employment
sectors. The increase is particularly strong in the public sector,
with mixed patterns seen in other sectors.
Five broad sectors show results for 2006-07
out of line with their trends for the four preceding years:
real estate, renting or business
public administration and defence;
health and social work.
In each case the 2006-07 figure is higher than
would be expected on earlier trends, which were level for "health
and social work" and falling for the other four sectors.
The reversal is particularly marked for "education"
and "public administration and defence". These five
sectors drive the overall pattern.
"Construction", "transport, storage
and communication" and "financial intermediation"
all show results consistent with continuing downward trends. "Wholesale
and retail trades" and "hotels and restaurants"
show little change.
The rise is strongest among public sector workers
(40% increase compared to 20% in other sectors) and mostly composed
of cases of MSD and stress.
We are planning further analyses of the LFS
and other data sources to help develop a balanced interpretation
of the available evidence. We will be comparing the answers of
respondents who featured in both surveys (2005-06 and 2006-07)
to see what might have changed their reported work-related illness
state. Findings for this work should be available in the first
few months of 2008.
A further contribution to our understanding
should come from other studies, eg the civil service survey due
out before Christmas, the NHS staff survey due in May and analysis
of the Fit3 employee survey next summer. These will give a mix
of figures on absence and employee views on ill health at work
for 2006 and 2007, and thus will build, with the LFS, a more robust
picture on ill health in the latest years.
HSE needs to continue focusing on stress and
MSDs. We have work planned for 2008-09 that will build on existing
health programmes. In particular HSE will:
Continue to promote the better management
of health at work in the public sector with a particular focus
on sound management practice eg use of the stress management standards.
Continue work in sectors with high
risks of musculoskeletal disorders (manufacturing, construction
and services) and new work to tackle upper limb disorders.
Promote further "partnership"
i) with sector based organisations like
the EEF which has achieved results for the manufacturing industry
through a sustained business to business campaign around absence
using top quality support materials, and
ii) supporting cross Government initiatives
eg the Health, Work and Wellbeing Strategy and actions by the
Civil Service Steering Board and Ministerial Task Force on Health,
Safety and Productivity.
HSC/E's work with the General Medical Council (GMC)
and general practitioners
The GMC has a role in ensuring proper medical
education and medical schools increasingly are including occupational
health in the undergraduate curriculum. The GMC does not have
a remit in respect of sickness certification unless a doctor's
performance in this respect is a cause of concern. DWP is currently
piloting a range of initiatives designed to increase GP knowledge
and capability in the area of occupational health including training
for both undergraduates and practising GPs.
Previous experience of involving clinicians
in the UK in formally recording work-relatedness of illnesses
they diagnose has not been encouraging. At one stage doctors certifying
death were able to record possible work-relatedness on the death
certificate but this opportunity was infrequently taken. In contrast
doctors in many Scandinavian countries have a statutory duty to
report work-relatedness of ill health.
HSE sponsors a scheme, run by the University
of Manchester, to gather information from selected GPs about work-related
ill health and absence among their patients. The GPs involved
all have some training in occupational health. The scheme has
only been running for 12 months and so is too young to give a
clear indication on trends in work-related ill health. By the
time next year's data are published we will be able to make a
first comparison between changes in GP-attributed work-related
illness and the LFS measure. In due course the scheme will provide
an alternative, and similarly comprehensive, picture of trends
in work-related illness to the LFS.
2. Additional data on prosecutions (2005-06
and 2006-07) including number where a conviction secured, number
of those convictions where costs recovered and quantum of costs
HSE's longstanding policy is to claim the full
costs it reasonably incurs in carrying out an investigation and
bringing a subsequent prosecution in England and Wales. This is
a policy that has been supported by the courts (R v Associated
Octel Ltd (Costs) and R v F Howe and Sons (Engineers) Ltd). Costs
cannot be claimed by HSE in the Scottish Courts where it is the
Procurator Fiscal who brings prosecutions following investigation
The table below shows HSE's prosecutions and
associated costs in England and Wales for 2005-06 and 2006-07.
||Convictions||Costs claimed by HSE
||Costs awarded by the courts||Proportion of costs awarded compared to costs claimed
1 Includes offences related to railways. These were initiated
by HSE, although this industry is now regulated enforced by the
Office of Rail Regulation
2 Provisional data published in 2006-07 HSC Health & Safety
3 All prosecutions on HSE's operational database (COIN) with
a hearing date from 1-4-2006 to 31-03-2007
4 All prosecutions on HSE's operational database (COIN) with
a hearing date from 1-4-2005 to 31-03-2006
It is not uncommon for an award of costs to be less than
the total amount applied for. This is because the court will take
other factors into account, such as the size of the penalty awarded,
any awards for compensation, and the defendant's ability to pay.
Of costs awarded by the courts the vast majority are paid
in full; a 2007 internal audit of a sample of Field Operations
prosecution costs and their recovery found 98% of the total amount
awarded was actually received.
3. Progress report on the Secretary of State's Construction
Forum : Progress of the "Framework for Action"
The Strategic Forum for construction agreed that its Health
and Safety Task Group would coordinate the development and implementation
of the "Framework for Action". The Task Group, chaired
by John Spanswick of Bovis LendLease, also a Health and Safety
Commissioner, has met and made progress on a number of issues.
Three sub groups of the Task groupall with HSE representationhave
been set up to take forward the work on key themes. The Task Group
will provide an initial report on progress to the Government early
in the New Year.
4. Further information on the Regulatory Impact Assessment
produced by HSE concerning the impact of new legal duties in directors
The Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) prepared by HSE was
produced in line with guidelines in the Treasury's Green Book.
The RIA considered the impact of three options:
Option A: Do nothingleave HSE policies
and practices unchanged;
Option B: Legislation and guidancecreate
new legislation backed up by clear and credible guidance; and
Option C: Guidance alonenew clear and credible
Using Treasury guidelines, HSE's economists used a combination
of data based on HSE's standard assumptions for RIAs (eg the costs
of workplace injuries), and assumptions specifically related to
the issue of directors' duties (eg the number of organisations
currently directing health and safety at Board/top level).
The draft RIA was tested with a range of stakeholders at
an event in April 2006. This led HSE to make a number of changes
to the assumptions to reflect the views that were expressed.
The main assumptions in the final RIA are as follows:
Some 70% of organisations currently direct health
and safety at Board/top level.
Under Option B, this would increase from 70% to
75%original proposed increase to 85% was reduced in light
of stakeholder consultation.
Under option C, this would increase from 70% to
between 72% and 73% original proposed increase to 75% was
reduced in light of stakeholder consultation.
Director leadership would lead to a 5-10% reduction
in accidents and ill health in those organisations that change
their behaviourreduced from 5-25% in light of stakeholder
consultation. In general, when assessing health and safety interventions,
a 25% reduction is used to indicate an intervention with a "high"
level of impact. However, stakeholders advised that this figure
was unlikely to be replicated in the majority of organisationshence
the reduction to 5-10%.
UCATT's report "the Case against voluntary guidance
and in favour of a change in the law to impose safety duties on
directors" questioned why the RIA used a figure of 70% to
represent the number of organisations where health and safety
is directed at board level. It suggested that 44% should have
been used instead. This figure comes from HSE research published
in 2006a major evaluation of HSC's Enforcement Policy Statement.
The two figures were derived from two different questions.
The 70% figure was based on a question to large organisations
about whether health and safety was directed at board level; the
44% figure was based on a question to organisations of all sizes
(including sole traders, micro and small firms) about whether
they had a health and safety director. The figure of 44% does
not therefore give an accurate picture of the number of organisations
of all sizes that direct health and safety at Board/top level:
in addition those organisations (44%) that have a health and safety
director, there will be numbers of sole traders, micro and small
firms that give top level attention to health and safety; and
there will be numbers of larger organisations that direct health
and safety at Board level without having appointed a specific
director for health and safety.
In calculating the RIA HSE's economists excluded sole traders.
However, because there was no evidence on how many micro and small
firms have boards, all other categories of employers were included,
which is their standard practice for such situations. The figure
of 70% was thus applied to all these organisations, in the absence
of evidence of whether smaller firms are more or less likely to
direct health and safety at Board/top level.
The discrepancy between the figures of 44% and 70% was a
matter of concern in the UCATT report, but the advice of HSE's
economists is that the broad findings of the RIA are not significantly
sensitive to changes in this percentage. In the case of options
B and C, whichever figure is used the costs always outweigh the
benefits, and the costs of option B (legislation) are always greater
than the costs of option C.
The RIA analysis was only one factor in a wider decision
making process. In reaching their decision in May 2006, the HSC
also considered other factors:
the increasing number of organisations that direct
health and safety at board level, following the original publication
of the 2001 directors' guidance;
emerging legislative developments in company law,
corporate manslaughter and alternative penalties;
results of stakeholder engagement that suggested
benefits would follow clearer guidelines to inspectors on enforcement
and new clearer and stronger guidance for directors; and
plans to formally evaluate the impact of such
Taking all factors into account, the HSC decided to authorise
the issue of clearer guidelines to inspectors on enforcement;
and the publication of new, clear and stronger guidance for directors.
They concluded that they could not at this stage recommend legislation,
but agreed to return to the issue in the light of the above developments.
5. Data detailing the average cost of a workplace inspection
and the average cost of a workplace injury
Outside the major hazard industries,
HSE carries out workplace inspections in a wide range of organisations
of differing scale and complexity. In 2006-07 the average cost
of such inspections carried out by HSE's Field Operations Directorate
was about £600. This cost includes staff costs and an estimated
attribution of overheads.
A comparison of the costs of an inspection with the cost
of an injury would not be meaningful. Though HSE are confident
that inspection has a positive effect on reducing the probability
of future injury, we are unable to quantify this relationship
Workplace injuries lead to costs to individuals, businesses,
the exchequer and society. HSE's estimates of the average cost
of workplace injuries to society are published as the HSE "economic
These provide estimates of average unit costs in the following
four categories, defined according to the duration of the consequent
absence from work:
Major Injury (leading to an absence from work
of greater than three months).
Other Reportable Injury (leading to an absence
from work of over three days).
Minor Injury (leading to an absence from work
of less than three days).
The average unit cost to society, for each of the above four
categories of workplace injuries, consists of the following components:
Human costs: this is based on individuals' subjective
valuation of the loss of enjoyment of life (beyond the consumption
of goods and services), and the pain, grief and suffering to relatives/friends.
Cost of lost output: this is assumed to be equal
to the wage cost that is normally incurred in employing a replacement
Resource costs: this includes costs to DWP of
administering benefits payments, NHS medical costs, and employers'
recruitment costs. DWP welfare payments are classed as transfer
payments (from the exchequer to individuals), and are therefore
not included in the estimated costs to society.
Table 1 shows the estimated average unit costs to society
for each of the four categories of injuries, based on 2005 (Quarter
Average Unit Costs to Society of Workplace Injuries
|Category of Injury||Average Unit Cost to Society
|Other Reportable Injury||£5,500
Includes nuclear, onshore major hazards (petrochemicals, chemicals,
gas storage), offshore oil and gas extraction Back