The index provides a snapshot of a country’s relative safety performance based on three measurable drivers of safety: institutional drivers (e.g. economics and education), safety frameworks (current regulations and safety infrastructure) and safety outcomes (unintentional injuries and deaths). Each of the 187 countries received an overall safety index assessment number between zero and 100.
Highlighted findings include:
- While the United States maintained a strong overall safety value of 89 – slightly less than last year’s 91 value. U.S. garnered a value of 69 for road safety, behind countries like Malaysia, Spain and Haiti.
- The Netherlands, Norway, Australia, Sweden and Canada have the highest overall UL Safety Index values (greater than 92), while South Sudan, Somalia and Guinea-Bissau were among the lowest (less than 21).
- Overall, Japan had the highest UL Safety Index value (89) of all countries in the East Asian region, with the lowest rates of transport injuries and poisonings.
- Among all factors, institutional drivers, such as economic and educational levels, had the greatest impact on overall safety index values. For example, while India has moderately high safety frameworks in place (greater than 73), its lack of strong institutions and resources (less than 43) brought down its overall safety index value to 63.
“Updating the index with new data sets offers a more complete indication of safety in these countries. The major change for 2017 is to include road safety policies. With road traffic crashes as the single largest cause of unintentional injury and death, we felt it imperative to include an indicator to measure the strength of road safety efforts. It was interesting to see that the changes in the ‘Top 10’ countries from last year’s index, based on data from 2013, are strongly influenced by the road safety component,” explained David Wroth, UL’s Director of Public Safety. “Safety truly is a system where multiple moving parts play a role, and the outcomes demonstrate how each part is interconnected. The UL Safety Index will continue to be a resource that is updated annually, and we look forward to seeing more positive changes in safety outcomes, especially in the countries that can really benefit from it the most.”
Focused on its mission to advance safe living and working environments for people everywhere, UL continues its commitment to contributing to the discourse on public health and safety with this quantifiable measurement of safety. Developed in 2016 to help drive decision-making about safety issues by policy makers and other stakeholders, the index can aid in the identification of investment priorities for improving safety. The index now showcases the year-over-year value changes among countries.
In addition to the publicly available raw data and safety index values, UL has also created a content library to help make its findings more actionable. Moreover, UL has collected and curated a database of effective policies and programs that have been implemented by governments and other stakeholders globally. UL is also in the process of developing country-specific case studies, as well as a Policy Maker’s Toolkit, both of which will be released in the coming months.
“We intended for the inaugural UL Safety Index to stimulate dialogue and ultimately national solutions. Now, a year after the index has been made public, we are beginning to have more concrete discussions about its adoption as a tool in places like South Africa, India and Vietnam,” said Wroth. “We are working closely with stakeholder groups in these regions to discuss how the UL Safety Index can be implemented into their decision-making processes. While the data itself can help inform leaders, it’s the stories, policies and programs that will help inspire others to take action.