Cover: The Global Epidemic of Occupational Injuries

The Global Epidemic of Occupational Injuries

Counts, Costs, and Compensation

Published Jul 18, 2016

by Ujwal Kharel

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Reliable data on work-related injuries and fatalities are unavailable for most countries around the world. This lack of credible data could hamper efforts to improve work-place safety, particularly in developing countries where workplace safety is often not even recognized as a public health priority. This study provides estimates of the number and rate of workplace fatalities for 215 countries from 1989-2013 using data from the International Labor Organization (ILO). The ILO requires its member countries to report the annual number of fatal occupational injuries, but only 39 countries reported credible statistics during the study period. Counts for the remaining 176 countries are imputed by using negative binomial regression to model a country's occupational fatalities as a function of the size of the labor force, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the real GDP per capita, and the breakdown of economic output by sector. The paper finds that: (i) there were approximately 250,000 work-related fatalities per year, (ii) the global burden has shifted towards the low-income parts of the world, and (iii) the official counts in most countries severely underreport their occupational injuries.

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in May 2016 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Seth A. Seabury (Chair), Louay Constant, and Krishna Kumar.

This publication is part of the RAND dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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