The HSE Measuring Strategy and evidence base development


Dr Yiqun Chen




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Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is an independent, risk-based and intelligence-led health and safety regulator in Great Britain (GB). HSE’s goal is to prevent work-related ill health, deaths and injuries. Having the right evidence base to inform HSE’s activities in achieving its goal is an on-going challenge and will require sustainable and coordinated efforts, as well as long-term evidence base development.

The HSE Measuring Strategy aims to build a fit-for-purpose evidence base to support HSE’s decision makings on prioritisation, targeting, monitoring and evaluation of national level health and safety interventions, and to identify new and emerging health and safety risks. The Strategy is forward looking and will involve systematic approaches for ongoing data collection, integration, analysis, and evidence synthesis.

Although the long-term objective of the Strategy is broad and ambitious, its initial development has been focusing on building the right evidence base to support the evaluation of the Health and Work (H&W) programme. The HSE Health and Work (H&W) programme designs and carries out a wide range of interventions; including inspection, enforcement and other regulatory activities as well as prevention; targeting priority health conditions in high-risk sectors. It is anticipated that long-term, sustainable and coordinated actions developed as part of the programme will over time improve awareness, behaviours, control of exposures, and, as a result, prevent work-related ill health in GB workforce

The HSE Measuring Strategy draws together outcome focused measures based on a simple ABCDE model, covering A -attitude, B-behaviours, C-control of exposures, D-disease and work-related ill health reduction, and E-evidence of attribution, to provide the evidence required for evaluating the short, medium- and long-term impacts of the H&W programme on the GB health and safety system. This was based on our understanding that national level health and safety interventions achieve impact through firstly making positive changes in employers’ and employee’s attitudes and behaviours to workplace health. Consequently, these lead to a better control of risk, and therefore the prevention of work-related ill health, providing that these are supported by evidence of attribution. The Strategy gives a new focus on measuring behavioural changes and risk reductions; and emphasizes longitudinal measurement designs to assess progress over time.

The development and implementation of the Measuring Strategy requires close collaboration from a multidisciplinary team of regulatory scientists and policy makers. The lessons learnt will help to build the right evidence base for a more holistic approach to monitor and evaluate a range of national level intervention programmes for reducing health and safety risks.

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