Developing a relativities approach to valuing the prevention of non-fatal work-related accidents and ill health



The aim of the current explorative study is to define and test a process for the valuation of the benefits associated with the prevention of non-fatal work-related accidents and ill health. A relativities approach is adopted, and monetary values for the prevention of three forms of work-related illness are estimated. The approach involves describing relevant attributes of alternative events (accidents or occurrences of ill health), their causes, the characteristics of the relevant working population, and the number of events that are avoidable, and asking respondents to make pair wise choices between alternatives options for prevention. Indirect monetary valuations are obtained against a peg event for which a reliable valuation exists (road deaths).

A series of discussion groups were held to identify relevant factors affecting potential valuations and to test the presentation of information. The predicted magnitude of responses for three-case study events (and road deaths) was estimated in a pilot study. These preliminary stages informed the final survey instrument that described five attributes in addition to a statement of the event and occupation, and the likely intervention effect, which was administered by post.

Based on a small sample, the results show that virtually all respondents passed the inserted consistency test. The median respondent altered their choice according to the number of events avoided for all three comparisons, such that the estimated valuations appear sensible. Potential amendments are suggested, but the general relativities approach warrants further investigation for the valuation of non-fatal work-related accidents and ill health. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.