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  • Press Release

New UL Safety Index Measures Global State Of Safety

September 19, 2016

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Sep. 19, 2016 — UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global safety science company, today released The UL Safety IndexTM, a new tool to quantify the relative state of safety across nearly 190 countries. The Index was formally presented at this year’s World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion in Finland today. The Netherlands, Norway and Denmark have Safety Index values that place them at the top of the list of countries.

Focused on safety and well-being, specifically unintentional injuries and deaths, the index provides a snapshot of a country’s relative safety performance based on three measurable drivers of safety: institutional drivers (economics, education, etc.), safety frameworks (current regulations and safety infrastructures) and safety outcomes (unintentional injuries). An algorithm combines data in each of these three areas and calculates an overall safety index number between zero and 100.

Focused on its mission to advance safe living and working environments for people everywhere, UL saw an opportunity to contribute to the discourse on public health and safety with a quantifiable measurement of safety. The index offers insights into how safety works as a system and supports the view that, to improve safety, countries must develop, implement and sustain a multi-layered, systems-based approach. Developed to help drive decision-making about safety issues by policy makers and other stakeholders, the index can aid in the identification of priorities for investment in programs that can improve safety.

“The need for this index is driven by the complex challenge of improving the safety of people around the world. The intended use of the UL Safety Index is to serve as a tool to stimulate dialogue and ultimately solutions. Comparisons are useful when they lead to conversations and that is what we are expecting by releasing this information,” said David Wroth, UL’s Director of Public Safety. “We intend for the data to be used to identify opportunities for collaboration among change agents, government agencies and the private sector, with a common goal of improving safety. The index helps to identify those areas where countries should perhaps consider allocating more time and resources.”

Highlighted findings include:

  • The Netherlands, Norway and Denmark have the highest overall Safety Index values (> 94), while South Sudan, Somalia and Djibouti were among the lowest (< 27).
  • The United States, with an overall safety value of 90.84 out of 100, in the top 10 among countries, is notable for its strong institutions and resource drivers (wealth, education, government effectiveness and technology).
  • Syria* has a relatively strong track record of preventing unintentional injuries, ranking as one the top three countries for safety outcomes, with a 94.8 value. The research counterintuitively revealed that while Syria measures up in outcomes, the measures of safety frameworks and institutions were much lower.
  • Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands all had high values for their safety frameworks, defined by the implementation of strong codes and standards, as well as consumer and labor protections for their citizens.
  • While helpful, safety frameworks are not the only path to a safer world, as evidenced by India, which has the highest safety framework value in the Central and South Asia region, but still exhibits only moderate safety outcomes.
  • Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil all have values in the upper quintile of the index, while neighboring countries such as Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador have values in the lower half of all countries. This reveals the potential benefit of regional cooperation to improve safety.

With plans to release an updated index annually, UL is now finalizing the scope of next year’s index. “We are building a diverse external advisory board of public health and safety experts, data scientists and others to help prioritize where the second iteration of the index should go next. Ideally, we will continue to expand the scope with each version, adding security, sustainability and well-being data into the algorithm and providing local safety insights in the future,” says Wroth.

For access to the UL Safety Index, including background on the index’s methodology, visit

*The UL Safety Index examines safety outcomes related solely to unintentional injury and does not account for conflict in the regions mentioned.   

About UL

UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for 120 years. Its more than 11,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. We partner with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visit


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