Economic growth and the incidence of occupational injuries in Austria

Alfred Barth, Robert Winker, Elisabeth Ponocny-Seliger, Leopold Sögner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: The aim of this paper was to analyze the impact of economic growth measured by real gross domestic product (GDP) on the incidence of occupational injuries in Austria. METHODS: The relationship between GDP and the occupational injury rate of the wage-earning population between 1955 and 2004 was analyzed using an error correction model. The sample size increased from 1.568,371 persons in 1955 to 2.656,952 in 2004. Occupational injuries were divided into fatal and non-fatal injuries. RESULTS: Occupational injuries (fatal and non-fatal) decreased from 8.59% to 4.08%: non-fatal injuries decreased from 8.56% to 4.07%; fatal injuries decreased from 0.03% to 0.01%. Austrian GDP increased from EUR 37.7 billion to EUR 202.8 billion (base year 1995). Statistical analysis clearly shows that a growing economy is associated with declining injury rates (fatal and non-fatal). Two mechanisms are discussed. Firstly, rising GDP is accompanied by greater investment in safer technologies and occupational safety measures. Secondly, booming economies are associated with a reduced risk of unemployment, which is already known to be a risk factor for occupational injuries. CONCLUSIONS: Economic development appears to have an impact on the incidence of occupational injuries in Austria. Health policy should emphasize the necessity for safety at work particularly in phases of economic slowdown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalWiener Klinische Wochenschrift
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Economic development
  • Gross domestic product
  • Occupational safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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