IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Estimating the costs of occupational injuries - A feasibility study in the mining industry


This study falls within the institute's desire to develop occupational health and safety economic indicators, on which the choice of research priorities could be based, as a complement to the indicators and other information already used at the IRSST.
This report attempts to clarify the feasibility of developing such indicators at the IRSST. To do this, this study tests, using available data, methods for estimating the costs of occupational injuries, and produces a portrait of these costs in the Québec mining sector for the 2005-2007 period.
In general, this study shows that it is possible to estimate the financial and human costs produced by occupational injuries in a specific economic activity sector. However, this exercise identified certain limitations that could affect the development of economic indicators at the IRSST.
The annual costs of occupational injuries in mines are estimated at approximately $130 million (2006), or roughly 5% of the contribution of the mining sector to the Québec GDP. Of this amount, approximately $50 million is attributed to financial costs and $80 million to human costs. Due to the limitations of the methodology used, it is probably an underestimation of the costs of occupational injuries in mines.
Analysis of the results also showed that the workers account for close to 67% of the total costs, mainly due to human costs. The employers assume close to 64% of the financial costs.
A few methods originating from the scientific literature have allowed certain cost aspects to be estimated. First, the human capital method was used to estimate lost productivity. Then, the health status index method was used jointly with the willingness-to-pay method to estimate in monetary terms the human costs produced by occupational injuries.
The most important limitation of this type of estimation is based on the availability of data. This limited availability of data particularly affects the estimation of injury costs for employers. For example, several costs not ensured by the CSST were estimated from information obtained from a survey of Québec mining companies or from a study carried out in a mining company.
This limitation is particularly problematic in the development of economic indicators for all of the economic activity sectors in Québec. To be able to develop this type of indicator, the IRSST will have to decide whether it is necessary to do the most complete estimation of the costs of occupational injuries or to limit itself to the most important costs aspects requiring easily available data.

Additional Information

Category: Research Report
Research Project: 0099-8570
Online since: November 25, 2011
Format: Text