Our Objectives and Activities

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents: who we are and what we do

Errol Taylor, Deputy Chief Executive

RoSPA is a registered charity that has been at the heart of accident prevention in the UK and around the world for nearly 100 years.

Our bold mission - to save lives and reduce injuries - describes our passion, our belief in our cause and our energy and commitment to improving the lives of others. It is brought into sharp focus by the 14,0001 people who die because of accidents in the UK each year and the families, friends and colleagues who are left enduring the ultimate heartache of losing a loved one in this way. What's more, in excess of 30,000 people suffer life-changing injuries each year. The human cost of accidents to individuals and families is enormous, as is the monetary cost to the State estimated at £20-30billion a year. Figures like these - and the heartbreaking stories of individual loss behind them - lie behind everything we do.

Our vision - to lead the way on accident prevention - encapsulates how we work towards achieving our mission in all areas of life: in the home, at leisure, on the roads, in schools and colleges and at work. We work with a wide range of stakeholders to influence policy and practice, favouring a balanced view of risk and of individual freedom to take appropriate decisions on personal safety. Recent changes in public health and the increasing pressure on accident and emergency departments have made the RoSPA agenda all the more important and we are at the leading edge of developments in these areas.

Here's a snapshot of our objectives for each of the main areas in which we work to achieve our mission:

Saving lives and reducing injuries...by campaigning and communicating

  • Develop and deliver evidence-based campaigns on key issues in order to bring about change
  • Maintain the national and international profile of accident prevention.

Saving lives and reducing injuries...in the home

  • Ensure that home safety is included on the public health agenda
  • Improve the collection, reporting and analysis of UK-wide accident data and use it to demonstrate the effectiveness of injury prevention
  • Support and encourage partnerships on accident prevention
  • Improve the focus on home safety, including through gathering and disseminating evidence and research, strategic influencing and awareness-raising
  • Improve physical safety in homes and gardens
  • Deliver home safety training courses
  • Provide expert advice to improve the safety of consumer products and services.

Saving lives and reducing injuries...on the road

  • Support the development and implementation of national and local road safety strategies, the work of other professionals and practitioners in road safety
  • Improve driving and motorcycling standards, including through RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders (RoADAR)
  • Raise awareness and provide advice, help, training, resources and information for all road users and the general public
  • Help employers manage their occupational road risk through the provision of advice, guidance, practical products and services.

Saving lives and reducing injuries...at work

  • Help small and medium-sized enterprises by simplifying health and safety advice and guidance
  • Strengthen corporate leadership of health and safety
  • Support local groups that provide health and safety assistance to their peers
  • Promote skills in health and safety through the provision of advice and training
  • Encourage continuous improvement, including through benchmarking and consultancy
  • Celebrate the success of high performers and encourage best practice through award schemes.

Saving lives and reducing injuries...at leisure

  • Encourage a strategic approach to water safety
  • Provide expert consultancy, audit and training
  • Support and carry out pioneering research
  • Promote recognition that leisure and play should be exciting and "as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible".

Saving lives and reducing injuries…through safety in education

  • Develop RoSPA support for schools and colleges
  • Promote risk education particularly through the LASER Alliance.

Saving lives and reducing injuries…through membership

  • Extend the RoSPA membership community.

Saving lives and reducing injuries…through events

  • Share best practice and information.

Examples of how we achieved these objectives during 2012/13 are outlined in the following sections of this annual review. As you find out more about what we do and why we do it, we hope that you will be inspired to join us in our mission.

Errol Taylor
Deputy Chief Executive

Percentage of total preventable years of life lost (PrYLL) in 2010 for people up to age 60.

Percentage of total preventable years of life lost (PrYLL) in 2010 for people up to age 60.

Accident Statistics

One of the most significant achievements for RoSPA during 2012/13 was establishing - for the first time - the scale of accidents as the leading cause of premature death for most of our lives.

Headline figures such as the number of deaths from accidents - around 14,0001 a year across the UK, of which more than 5,0002 are the result of home accidents - and the fact that accidents are the main cause of death for children post infancy, have been known for a long time, although some people still react with surprise when we tell them.

However, in our work on the Big Book of Accident Prevention and the Delivering Accident Prevention handbook, we examined figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that covered years of life lost from causes of death considered preventable in England and Wales.

Accidents were shown to be one of the leading causes of preventable years of life lost (PrYLL) in the working age population (ages 15-64).

And our examination of PrYLL among all people up to the age of 60 revealed that accidents result in more years of life being lost than any other cause of death considered preventable. In this age group, accidents accounted for 23 per cent of years of life lost from causes of death considered preventable (as defined by the ONS), ahead of preventable cancers.

This comparison between life years lost from accidents and other causes of preventable death, such as some cancers, suicide/intentional self-harm, alcohol-related conditions, ischaemic heart disease and murder/assault, is a recent addition to discussions on public health priorities and one that we have been sharing widely with directors of public health, health and wellbeing boards and other decision-makers and practitioners across the public health sphere.

1 Office for National Statistics (ONS); General Register Office for Scotland; Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

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