Occupational Asthma Reference

Boyd R ,Cowie H, Hurley F, Ayres JG, The true cost of occupational asthma in Great Britain, Health and safetty Executive Research Report, 2006;474:1-117,

Keywords: Occupational asthma, cost, UK, compensation, employer, worker, government,

Known Authors

Jon Ayres, University of Birmingham Jon Ayres

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Abstract

• The ‘average’ worker suffering from OA is estimated to lose between 3.5 and just over 4.5 work days per year. A worker with milder or more severe OA is estimated to lose close to 2 and 10 work days per year respectively.

• The total number of newly reported cases of OA in Great Britain in 2003 was 631,of which 442 were male workers and 189 were female workers.

• The total lifetime costs to society of these new cases of OA are estimated to range from £71.7 to £100.1 million; or about £3.4 to £4.8 million per year over the lifetime of the disease. If comparable numbers of new cases were diagnosed in 2004, 2005, 2006 and so on, this would give rise to additional streams of lifetime costs of similar magnitude.

• For male workers the estimated total lifetime costs to society range from £53.6 to £78.0 million, which equates to about £121,000 to £176,000 per worker with OA.

• For female workers, the estimated total lifetime costs to society range from £18.1 to £22.1 million, which equates to about £96,000 to £117,000 per worker with OA.

• Allowing for the fact that the number of new cases of OA diagnosed in 2003 is under-reported by up to one-third, the total lifetime costs to society could be as high as £95.6 to £133.5 million.

• The estimated total lifetime costs to society are made up of costs incurred by the individual, employers and the state (‘taxpayers’). The largest cost burden falls on the individual worker (who incurs about 49% of total costs), followed very closely by taxpayers (who incur about 47% of total costs). In contrast, employers of workers diagnosed with OA in 2003 only incur about 4% of total costs.

• There appears, therefore, to be little incentive for employers to reduce the incidence of new cases of OA in Great Britain, despite the fact that significant benefits would accrue to the rest of society: benefits to the state and employees could be as high as £69.7 and £96.3 million over the lifetime of those workers diagnosed with the disease in 2003.

• This pattern of cost burdens suggests that employers are imposing a significant ‘external’ cost on the rest of society.

Plain text: * The 'average' worker suffering from OA is estimated to lose between 3.5 and just over 4.5 work days per year. A worker with milder or more severe OA is estimated to lose close to 2 and 10 work days per year respectively. * The total number of newly reported cases of OA in Great Britain in 2003 was 631,of which 442 were male workers and 189 were female workers. * The total lifetime costs to society of these new cases of OA are estimated to range from £71.7 to £100.1 million; or about £3.4 to £4.8 million per year over the lifetime of the disease. If comparable numbers of new cases were diagnosed in 2004, 2005, 2006 and so on, this would give rise to additional streams of lifetime costs of similar magnitude. * For male workers the estimated total lifetime costs to society range from £53.6 to £78.0 million, which equates to about £121,000 to £176,000 per worker with OA. * For female workers, the estimated total lifetime costs to society range from £18.1 to £22.1 million, which equates to about £96,000 to £117,000 per worker with OA. * Allowing for the fact that the number of new cases of OA diagnosed in 2003 is under-reported by up to one-third, the total lifetime costs to society could be as high as £95.6 to £133.5 million. * The estimated total lifetime costs to society are made up of costs incurred by the individual, employers and the state ('taxpayers'). The largest cost burden falls on the individual worker (who incurs about 49% of total costs), followed very closely by taxpayers (who incur about 47% of total costs). In contrast, employers of workers diagnosed with OA in 2003 only incur about 4% of total costs. * There appears, therefore, to be little incentive for employers to reduce the incidence of new cases of OA in Great Britain, despite the fact that significant benefits would accrue to the rest of society: benefits to the state and employees could be as high as £69.7 and £96.3 million over the lifetime of those workers diagnosed with the disease in 2003. * This pattern of cost burdens suggests that employers are imposing a significant 'external' cost on the rest of society.

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