The costs of occupational injuries and diseases in Québec, 2005–2007

Martin Lebeau, Institut de recherche Robert Sauvé en santé et en sécurité au travail, Montreal, Canada

Abstract

Objective: Occupational injuries and diseases are costly for companies and for society as a whole. This study estimated the overall costs of occupational injuries and diseases in Quebec, both human and financial, during the period 2005 to 2007.

Methods: An incidence approach was used to measure the costs of new cases of occupational injuries and diseases (including deaths) from 2005 to 2007. The estimates were based almost entirely on data from the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST), Quebec’s workers’ compensation board. The human capital method was used to estimate lost productivity. A health indicator (DALY or disability adjusted life years) was used in combination with the willingness-to-pay method to estimate, in monetary terms, the human costs resulting from occupational injuries and diseases.

Results: The costs of occupational injuries and diseases occurring in a single year in Quebec were estimated at $4.6 billion, on average, for the 2005 to 2007 period. Of this amount, approximately $1.78 billion was allocated to financial costs and $2.86 billion to human costs. The average cost of an occupational injury or disease was $38,507.

Conclusion: This study makes it possible to better understand the size of the costs related to occupational injuries and diseases in Quebec. The results of these estimates are relevant to helping to determine research directions in occupational health and safety and prevention. The methodology used can be replicated for the purposes of estimating the costs of injuries and diseases in other populations.

Authors: Martin Lebeau, Patrice Duguay and Alexandre Boucher

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