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Department of Trade and Industry and predecessors: Consumer Affairs Directorate and predecessors: Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS)

Reference:
NK 3
Title:
Department of Trade and Industry and predecessors: Consumer Affairs Directorate and predecessors: Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS)
Description:

The Home Accident Surveillance Systems (HASS) dataset holds details of home and leisure accidents which caused a serious enough injury to warrant a visit to hospital. A representative mix of eighteen hospitals are involved in the collection of statistics. Each record includes information on:- the person who had the accident, the accident itself, the circumstances, the injuries and the involvement of products/articles in the accident. The purpose of the database is the collection of information to underpin accident prevention policy. The database focuses on consumer products that are involved in accidents and provides information on a wide range of behavioural factors.

The datasets in this series are available to download. Links to individual datasets can be found at piece level.

Date:
1978-2002
Arrangement:

Hardware: The Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS) was, at the time of transfer, being run on a PC Local Area Network, with 4 PCs linked to a stand-alone server. In 1993, the Department of Trade and Industry's CSU central computer system was a DEC Risc based system and participating hospitals were using freestanding DEC Risc workstations to enter the data.

Operating System: The DEC Risc workstations used by the hospitals to enter the data ran a GUI based data entry system built for HASS using Ingres Windows 4GL. The DTI's central computer system ran Ultrix (DEC's version of UNIX).

Application software: At time of transfer, Version 4.0 of smartFOCUS Viper software was used to run database queries, analyse the data in the database and produce sophisticated statistical reports from it.

Logical structure and schema: The HASS and the Leisure Accident Surveillance System (LASS) were, from 1992, used as two linked databases. The original dataset as transferred to NDAD comprised two groups of six data-files from these databases.

Details as to the validation of the data are not known.

Held by:
The National Archives, Kew
Copies held at:
The ROSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) agreed to hold a copy of the dataset for 5 years beginning in 2003.
Former references:
in The National Archives:   CRDA/58
Legal status:
Public Record
Language:
English
Creator:
Department of Prices and Consumer Protection, Fair Trading Division, 1974-1979
Department of Trade and Industry, Competition Policy, Consumer Credit and Safety Division, 1983-1984
Department of Trade and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Competition Policy Directorate, 1996-1997
Department of Trade and Industry, Consumer Affairs Directorate, 1998-2007
Department of Trade and Industry, Consumer Affairs Division, 1983-1996
Department of Trade, Competition Policy Division, 1979-1980
Physical description:
2 datasets and documentation
Restriction on use:
Certain fields within the Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS) dataset which could reveal the identity of an accident victim have been closed for 100 years under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act. They will be opened on an annual basis, with the earliest (1978) opening in 2079 and the latest (2002) opening in 2103. Subject to Crown Copyright; copies may be made for private study and research purposes only. Registered under the Data Protection Act.
Access conditions:
Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:
In 2010 the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets
Custodial history:
The Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS) dataset was originally transferred from the Department of Trade and Industry in 2003. The United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) then held the dataset until 2010 when it was transferred to The National Archives (TNA)
Selection and destruction information:
The full dataset has been selected in accordance with acquisition policy: 2.2.2.1 - the economic, social and demographic condition of the UK as documented by the state's dealing with individuals and 2.2.2.2 - impact of the state on the physical environment are applicable
Accruals:
There will be no further accruals as a decision was taken in 2003 that no further data would be collected.
Publication note:
Copies of the Annual Report on data in the Home Accident Surveillance System, starting with the fourth Annual Report (1980) until the Final report issued in 2003, were transferred to the National Digital Archive of Datasets
Unpublished finding aids:
Extent of documentation: 43 documents, Dates of creation of documentation: 1981-2003
Administrative / biographical background:

Consumer Affairs Directorate

The Consumer Affairs Directorate was formed when the Consumer Affairs and Competition Policy Directorate was split into the Consumer Affairs Directorate and the Competition Policy and Utilities Review Team Directorate. The Consumer Affairs and Competition Policy Directorate itself had been created in 1996 when the Consumer Affairs and Competition Policy Divisions merged.

The Directorate was set up with responsibility for matters of consumer safety including product safety, research and accident statistics. It was also concerned with consumer economic issues such as timeshares, doorstep selling and consumer credit and the provision of advice and information to consumers on misleading claims, packaging and the introduction of the Euro. There have also been proposals for the reform of the Fair Trading Act 1973 and the modernisation of trading standards.

Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS) dataset

Every year in the United Kingdom about 5,000 people die as a result of an accident in the home, or during their leisure time; over 2 million people are treated in hospitals; and another 1.5 million consult a general practitioner. The cost to society of UK home accident injuries was estimated (in 1996) at £25,000 million a year.

The Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS), a system for collecting information about home accidents, was set up by the Consumer Safety Unit of the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), and came into operation in 1976. Both the Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS) and the Leisure Accident Surveillance System (LASS) were funded and maintained by the DTI since 1976. The systems contain records of non-fatal accidents occurring in the home or at leisure, which caused a serious enough injury to warrant a visit to hospital, since the start of 1978. In 1992, the system became fully computerised, resulting in two linked databases.

The purpose of the system was the collection of information to underpin accident prevention policy, and thus to improve consumer safety. Hence, the database holds records of accidents to consumers involving injury, or suspected injury.

Information from the HASS/LASS databases was always made freely available to anyone with an interest in accident prevention, or home and leisure safety. The information produced by the Surveillance System was used extensively by:

  • The Consumer Safety Unit of the DTI and other Government Departments, to aid preparation of legislation;
  • Trade associations and manufacturers, to improve product design;
  • Organisations such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, the British Standards Institution and the Consumers' Association;
  • Members of the medical profession and academics, to improve safety;
  • Any organisation with an interest in safety or the prevention of accidents.

Information was provided in the HASS annual report, in the form of standard tables. Interested parties could also enquire directly to the Department to obtain customised analyses from the system in tabular form, or as listings of individual case histories. In its penultimate Annual Report, it is stated that HASS contained 6.8 million accident records collected over 20 years.

The success of the system led to the setting up of an EEC equivalent, the European Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System (EHLASS). On 2 May 2003, it was announced that the DTI would no longer fund the collection and publication of HASS data. Data for the final years up to this date was entered into the database, and included in the final HASS Report. However, the dataset as transferred to NDAD includes no 2003 data.

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