Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a United States-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to progressing public safety, security and wellbeing through scientific knowledge organized a summit on “UL Safety IndexTM” to discuss and reflect upon the various dimensions of safety standards within ASEAN countries. The summit was attended by many public and private organizations that wished to participate in enhancing Thai safety standards.
Mr. David Wroth, Director, Data Science of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) revealed that UL Safety Index is a numerical index on a scale from 0 to 100 that quantifies the relative safety of living and working environments for people in a city, state, country or region. Lower numbers indicate less safety and higher numbers indicate more safety. The current version of the Index focuses on country level data and unintentional injury. The Index is based on the concept that safety outcomes are a function of the presence of hazards, amplified or mitigated by resources, infrastructure, behavior, safety frameworks and culture. The Index measures the contributions of national resources and institutions, safety systems and frameworks and safety outcomes related to unintentional injury. It is computed as the geometric mean of the three measurable drivers of safety, including Institutions & Resources, Safety Frameworks and Safety Outcomes. Each driver is calculated using additional Indicators that measure specific dimensions of that topic.
“Through research, statistical analysis and mining open data, UL is at the forefront of quantifying a relative state of safety for any unique geo-location – country, city, community, etc. UL uses validated algorithms to establish the Safety Index based on relevant indicators involving safety frameworks, human behaviors, cultures, atmospheric indices, education levels, infrastructures, economic indices, societal support, legislation and enforcement, ecological models, population density and so on. TheUL Safety Index may be used by government/ministry officials, business leaders, safety experts, the public and UL to benchmark their state of safety and have meaningful, science-based dialog to prioritize safety solutions, programmatic interventions, and predictive models, thus propelling UL’s Mission forward in new and innovative ways,” said Mr. David Wroth.
Each Driver in the UL Index draws information from reliable sources including World Bank, UN Development Programme, World Economic Forum, Consumers International, WHO, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and research conducted by UL. Through these sources, UL gains access to insightful data of specific geographical areas such as GDP per capita, education level, government effectiveness, technology, safety codes and standards, consumer protections, labor protections, road safety framework, and even the records of several types of accidents. Presented in a form of interactive visualization tools, the Index provides interested parties with an overview of a country’s relative safety and key factors affecting its safety standards.
UL’s Index is unique since it includes not only safety-specific measures but also societal forces. Therefore, it broadens the concept of safety standard improvement from specific interventions to a systemic approach, which is crucial for countries or organizations to make data driven choices, policies, and investments. The Index even helps raise awareness of safety as a public health issue, provide resources and stimulate dialogs amongst relevant parties, assist in prioritizing steps in improving safety. It is also considered a “learning tool” for safety professionals, non-governmental organizations, and policy makers around the world. Using the Index’s resource library users will have access to curated content that summarizes policies, programs and research on safety topics.
The definition and scope of the UL Safety Index is annually updated and improved as the mission of UL expands. Over time, new features and more additional aspects of health and safety (chronic disease, security, etc.) will be included in the Index to achieve higher “resolution” calculations at the state/province, city and park/venue level, and trends, as well as predictive models.
This Index is a proof of an effort that positions UL as a thought leader in safety science, demonstrates UL’s commitment to safety, and shows how UL’s services can impact the safety of a country or region. The UL Safety Index is available at www.ULSafetyIndex.org. The tool has features that allow users to easily interact and manipulate the data and create customized, downloadable reports.