Accidents, deaths and health problems at work: the costs for Europe

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Each year, work-related accidents result in long periods of absence from work, and even death. Furthermore, a significant proportion of Europe’s working population suffers from one or more work-related health problems. As a first step towards estimating the Europe-wide costs of work-related health problems, accidents and deaths, EU-OSHA has produced a new report evaluating the quality and comparability of the available data that can be used to determine those costs. Although the authors identified a lack of robust and reliable data in this area, they suggest methods that would allow a partial estimation of costs to be made.

Data sources on the number of cases and costs in each country

This article is providing additional information for the EU-OSHA technical report "Estimating the costs of work-related accidents and ill-health: An analysis of European data sources" and its summary. It was produced in the context of a long-term research project which aims to develop an economic costing model to establish reliable estimates of the costs. The pdf files in the table listed below are country reports that describe the available data sources on the number of cases and costs in each country.

To estimate the costs of the work-related burden of disease, it will be necessary to estimate the number of cases of work-related ill-health, and subsequently apply monetary values to the identified cases. The availability of relevant data was checked at the international as well as the national level in the EU-28, Iceland and Norway. Data were collected with the assistance of country experts through the use of standardised templates. To ensure that these templates captured all relevant information, we conducted a literature search before the structure of the template was finalised. In this literature search, existing studies on costs of accidents and work-related health problems were reviewed. Moreover, we generated country profiles to identify the national structures that determine the reporting of accidents and work-related or occupational diseases, and to identify relevant characteristics for cost estimations. These profiles enabled a better understanding of the availability and quality of the data identified throughout the project and are also available in one pdf file below that covers all countries.

The case template should cover every category of work-related ill-health. Cases include accidents at work and other health problems which are (partly) caused or aggravated by work. Health problems in which the occupational factor is the only or the most important cause are also identified as ‘occupational diseases’. We identified four main categories:

  • accidents at work;
  • occupational diseases;
  • work-related diseases; and
  • presenteeism.

For each category, the template contained questions about the source of the information, geographical scope, type of time frame (e.g. single study, continuous registration), accessibility, disaggregation potential (by age, gender, economic sector, occupation, type of employment or diagnosis) and coverage (e.g. sectors excluded, self-employed excluded). If applicable, information relating to the type of health problem and severity was collected as well as general reporting criteria, such as voluntary or obligatory reporting, incentives, and estimates of underreporting. Furthermore, the template contained specific information relating to the categories, for example, ‘what is the definition of “accident”?’

To get an overview of the data sources available for the estimation of the costs of accidents at work, illnesses, deaths and presenteeism, we used a template to collect information on the following cost categories:

  • productivity costs;
  • healthcare costs;
  • quality-of-life losses;
  • administration costs; and
  • insurance costs.

To enable the completion and interpretation of the costs template, the cost categories were subdivided into subcategories by cost bearer. Cost bearers may be:

  • workers and family;
  • employers;
  • the government; and
  • society.

Pdf document: File:Country profiles of national OSH cost structures.pdf (including all countries)

Table: National data sources of cases and costs (one pdf per country)

Country Data sources per country
Austria File:Austria Costs and Cases.pdf
Belgium File:Belgium Costs and cases.pdf
Bulgaria File:Bulgaria Costs and cases.pdf
Croatia File:Croatia Costs and cases.pdf
Cyprus File:Cyprus Costs and cases.pdf
Czech File:Czech republic Costs and cases.pdf
Denmark File:Denmark Costs and cases.pdf
Estonia File:Estonia Costs and cases.pdf
Finland File:Finland Costs and cases.pdf
France File:France Costs and cases.pdf
Germany File:Germany Costs and cases.pdf
Great Britain File:Great Britain Costs and cases.pdf
Greece File:Greece Costs and casesL.pdf
Hungary File:Hungary Costs and cases.pdf
Iceland File:Iceland Costs and cases.pdf
Ireland File:Ireland Costs and cases.pdf
Italy File:Italy Costs and cases.pdf
Latvia File:Latvia Costs and cases.pdf
Lithuania File:Lithuania Costs and cases.pdf
Netherlands File:Netherlands Costs and cases.pdf
Norway File:Norway Costs and cases.pdf
Poland File:Poland Costs and cases.pdf
Portugal File:Portugal Costs and cases.pdf
Romania File:Romania Costs and cases.pdf
Slovakia File:Slovakia Costs and cases.pdf
Slovenia File:Slovenia Costs and cases.pdf
Spain File:Spain Costs and Cases.pdf
Sweden File:Sweden Costs and Cases.pdf


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