The impact of the business cycle on occupational injuries in the UK

Soc Sci Med. 2009 Jul;69(2):178-82. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.04.033. Epub 2009 May 28.


This paper investigates the cyclical fluctuations in rates of workplace injury for the UK from 1986 to 2005. Time series analysis shows that, in aggregate terms, the rate of minor injuries is pro-cyclical whilst the rate of major injury is not affected by the level of economic activity. Analysis by sector reveals that cyclical fluctuations are sharper in the construction and manufacturing sectors. Using panel data, we find that fluctuations in both the rates of minor and major injury are related to the level of new hiring and the ratio of actual to usual hours worked. However, only minor injuries are related to variables that control for workers' bargaining power. The analysis demonstrates the importance of both compositional effects and individual reporting behaviour to understanding cyclical variations in workplace injury rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / trends*
  • Economics / trends*
  • Humans
  • Models, Economic
  • Professional Competence
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom