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Italy in the middle of the pack among European countries according to UL Safety Index™

Unintentional injuries and deaths among growing elderly population impact ranking on annual safety index.

Italy ranked 26 out 187 countries considered on a group of safety measures as determined by the UL Safety Index™. Impacted by a growing elderly population prone to falls and injuries from fire, Italy landed in the middle of the pack among European countries, behind many neighboring states such as France, Switzerland and Spain. This is according to a report by UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global safety science organization, which provided an in-depth analysis of the state of safety in Italy.

The UL Safety Index™ provides a snapshot of a country’s relative safety 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.

The Netherlands and Norway, followed by Australia, Sweden and Canada, had the highest overall UL Safety Index™ values, while Denmark, Singapore, Germany and the United States’ values fell. Italy slipped one spot from the previous year, but remains relatively consistent. This places Italy in the top 15 percent of all countries.

“Our mission is to help advance safe living and working environments for people in Italy, and around the world, and to contribute to the discourse on public health and safety,” said David Wroth, Director, Data Science – Underwriters Laboratories Inc. “The findings from the study this year illustrate that Italy is performing above average in its overall efforts to improve safety, but there is clearly room to improve, particularly in protecting vulnerable populations such as the elderly.”

Italy may learn from neighboring countries

The UL Safety Index™ also highlights Italy’s overall safety performance in comparison to its regional neighbors. France, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Slovenia, Germany and Portugal all rank ahead of Italy with Switzerland (1st), Germany (2nd), Austria (3rd) and France (4th) leading the pack. Italy’s lower rankings within the institutions driver (education, technology and governance) are the greatest opportunities for improvement.

A growing elderly population with specific safety needs

While it is widely known that Italy has a large and fast-growing elderly (65+ years) population, UL’s data reveals this trend’s impact on the overall safety levels in the country. Mirroring this population change, the UL Safety Index™ reports a consistent increase in the rate of unintentional injury and death of the elderly due to falls. In addition, the incidence of injury and death due to fire, heat and hot substances has been increasing steadily since 2005. Once again, the elderly make up the majority of these victims.

This data invites further analysis of the causes of these trends and discussion of opportunities to improve the unique safety needs of the elderly. Development of safety education programs for the elderly and care giver communities, evaluating how safety can play a larger role in regional and local elderly support systems and revisiting investment in those systems are all considerations for improving the safety and well-being of this vulnerable population. UL is practiced at bringing appropriate stakeholders together to conduct these critical safety conversations. David Wroth continued, “Our aim is to contribute to learning and decision-making about safety issues by Italian policy makers and other stakeholders, and to support the implementation of programs for improving safety levels.”

Global UL Safety Index™ Highlights

Globally, key highlights from the UL Safety Index™ include:

  • Among all factors, institutional drivers, such as economic and educational levels, had the greatest impact on overall UL 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 UL Safety Index™ value to 63.
  • Overall, the Netherlands had the highest UL Safety Index™ value (95) of all countries in the European region, with the highest ratings for Codes & Standards, Consumer Protections and Labor Protections.
  • France performs among the highest scores and sets the leading stage for public health and safety with a UL Safety Index value of 89 and an overall ranking of 18 out of 187.The United States maintained a strong overall safety value of 89 – slightly less than last year’s value of 91.
  • The United States of America performs the lowest in outcomes related to falls while its best value is in other unintentional injuries.

For access to the UL Safety Index™, including background on the Index’s methodology, visit www.ULSafetyIndex.org.

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About Underwriters Laboratories

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