The idea of the ‘value of preventing a fatality’ (VPF), or equivalently the ‘value of a statistical life’, is a technical term used in safety decision-making. It gets its life from risk cost-benefit analysis (RCBA). Where a safety measure is designed to reduce the risk of death there will always be a question of whether it is worthwhile, whether on economic grounds or some other.1 As soon as it is admitted that there is a conceptual possibility that a potential safety measure could be too expensive to be worth implementing it is necessary to find a way of giving some meaning to this idea, and, if possible, some criterion to settle such questions.