MEL Health and Safety Consultants

Average Cost of Ill Health

Average Case Estimated at Over £10,000

In November 2008, the Economic Analysis Unit (EAU) of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revised its estimates for the costs for an average case of ill health, to a new figure of £10,100.


A source at the HSE says that the estimates published for the average case of ill health now reflect the most up-to-date information available.


The EAU appraisal values can be used to “estimate the benefits of proposed measures which aim to improve occupational health and safety, and to compare such benefits with the cost of government intervention.”


The EAU appraisal values give the unit costs to society for three kinds of workplace accidents and ill health, namely:

  • Fatalities 
  • Non-fatal injury accidents 
  • An average case of ill health.

The ill-health appraisal value seeks to offer the “unit cost to society” for “an average case of work-related ill health”.


As with the injury values, the ill-health estimate is divided into three component costs, i.e. human costs, lost output and resource costs, as follows:

  1. The human costs estimate is calculated as a weighted average of the human costs of different cases of ill health categorised by length of absence. 
  2. The definition of lost output for a case of ill health is calculated using the length of absence as the average number of days lost due to ill health. 
  3. The resource costs for a case of ill health include administration, recruitment and medical treatment.

Using this methodology, an average case of ill health is estimated at:

  •  £6700 in human costs 
  • £2700 in lost output 
  • £800 in resource costs.

This is estimated at a total cost of £10,100 (the total does not equal the sum of cost categories due to rounding in the calculation process).