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SELF REPORTED ILL-HEALTH CONFIRMED ‘BROADLY RELIABLE’

Research suggests self-reporting provides sound basis for policy

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) provides estimates of the scale and distribution of work-related ill health conditions across Great Britain.

The survey relys on the self-reporting of these conditions and HSE was interested to get a better understanding of the nature of the relationship between work and the illness, the characteristics of respondents, details of the conditions reported and the effect they have on individuals’ lives.

HSE therefore commissioned a Work-Related Illness Survey to acquire this further detail and the researchers have now reported RR970 – Follow-up and assessment of self reports of work-related illness in the Labour Force Survey the following conclusion:

“Our conclusion from the results of this investigation are that self-reports of work-related ill health are broadly reliable. The level of possibly mistaken reports will be to some extent counter-balanced by opposite biases. In particular just as there are individuals who make an implausible ascription to work, there will be others who do not recognise a genuine connection with work activities.

Given this and the fact there is no available measure without problems, we believe that it is better to continue to work with the estimate as it emerges from the LFS, rather than apply a series of adjustments. When sensibly interpreted, such surveys provide valid information not available from other sources.”

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