The relation between accidents and output in Swedish industry

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Abstract

Traditionally, occupational injury rates are measured as number of injuries per amount of work. In contrast, we propose that for certain purposes of economic policy, a more relevant measure could be obtained by considering them as production costs and comparing them with output. This was accomplished by replacing “hours worked” in the traditional formulae for estimating accident risk with “value added”. First, you get a different picture of the development and distribution of accidents and health when using output-related measures. Furthermore, a regression analysis associated a high technological level with a low accident/output ratio. Also, we found that in 1975, there would have been c. 50 % more accidents had the 1975-output been produced with 1963-technology and accident risks. Testing the hypothesis that accidents increase relatively during booms, we studied year-to-year changes in production and accidents. Normally, however, accidents increased less than the accident/output ratio indicated. In summary, then, we want to emphasize the importance of relating accidents and other features of the working-place environment to the result of the production process. While in no way denying the possibility of technological progress worsening working-place conditions, we must conclude that our results do not lend support to that hypothesis.

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  • Economics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-242
JournalSafety Science
Volume4
Issue number2-4
Publication statusPublished - 1982
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes