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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a research report with the aim of evaluating and deriving sourc...
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a research report with the aim of evaluating and deriving sources of population data to be used in major hazard accident modelling and quantified risk assessment (QRA).

Population data is fundamental to the estimation of levels of societal risk as well as providing potentially useful data for other aspects of the HSE's work.

A number of key criteria were laid down to guide the process of selecting, manipulating and integrating population data sets. The population data needed to provide national cover, at high levels of detail, without incurring excessive cost and to take account of daily changes in population patterns associated with a range of different land uses.

The solution developed involved using postcode geography as a foundation and then adding and combining further datasets to provide a 'richer' set of population data that encompasses activity away from home.

The basic features which have been derived and mapped are buildings, transport routes and land uses. Datasets drawn on include cartographic data, remotely sensed land use data, postcode data, commercial directories and other list data and area based socio-economic data.

The research undertaken has shown that while a 'perfect' solution is not achievable, significant advances are possible in the quality, diversity and accuracy of population data used in major accident modelling and QRA.

There are a number of different ways in which enhanced population data may inform and improve the work of the HSE. These include the use of the data for the assessment of pipeline and transport as well as fixed site risks; making changes to accident modelling assumptions to reflect variations in population vulnerabilities; the development of macro level indicators of changes in population exposure to risk; and the use of data in regulatory impact assessments.

There are a number of recommendations emerging from the project related both to the uptake and implementation of the outcomes of the project and further research and development work in this area.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the HSE. Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

Copies of 'The derivation and use of population data for major hazard accident modelling (CRR 410/2002)', ISBN 0-7176-2271-1, price£30, are available online: from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA, tel: 01787 881165 or fax: 01787 313995. Priced publications are also available from good booksellers.

HSE Contract Research Reports are available on the HSE website .


Call HSE's InfoLine, tel: 08701-545500

or write to: HSE Information Services, Caerphilly Park, Caerphilly CF83 3GG

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