spacebands is a multi-sensor wearable that monitors external, environmental hazards, anticipates potential accidents, and gives real-time data on stress in hazardous environments.
We've raided the dusty libraries of the Health & Safety Executive, International Labor Organization, and the Labour Force Survey to pull together all the key statistics for health & safety in the United Kingdom, for 2023.
All the key information has been compiled and lovingly crafted into an infographic, so you can easily see the stats that matter, without trawling through reports to get to the good stuff.
First of all, let's take a look at the most important statistic - fatalities. The U.K has a relatively low fatality rate in the workplace, due to extensive guidance from the HSE and a well-informed health & safety community/profession that take their work seriously.
In 2022/23, there were 135 workers killed in work-related accidents (RIDDOR)*. This represents an increase of 12 fatalities from 2021/22.
The bar graph below breaks down the fatalities by industry:
Construction continues to be the highest death per industry in 2022/23, followed by agriculture, forestry and fishery.
99 deaths were people in the age group 16-59, with 33 fatalities attributed to the over 60 age group, while 3 ages are classified as unknown.
The main types of accidents in the workplace leading to a fatality in the UK continue to be falls from height, struck by moving object and struck by moving vehicle - accounting for around two thirds of fatalities.
13,000 deaths each year are estimated to be linked to past exposure at work, primarily to chemicals or dust.
(Excludes deaths due to work-related accidents to ‘patients and service users’ in the healthcare and adult social care sectors in England reportable under RIDDOR).
Non-communicable diseases accounted for 81 per cent of the deaths. The greatest causes of deaths were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (450,000 deaths); stroke (400,000 deaths) and ischaemic heart disease (350,000 deaths). Occupational injuries caused 19 per cent of deaths (360,000 deaths).
The study considered 19 occupational risk factors, including exposure to long working hours and workplace exposure to air pollution, asthmagens, carcinogens, ergonomic risk factors, and noise. The key risk was exposure to long working hours – linked to approximately 750,000 deaths. Workplace exposure to air pollution (particulate matter, gases and fumes) was responsible for 450,000 deaths.
565,000 UK Workers sustained a non-fatal injury according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey in 2021/22 (LFS). 61,713 UK Employee non-fatal injuries reported by employers in 2021/22 (RIDDOR)
1.8 million working people suffering from a work-related illness, of which:
Injuries of up to a 7 day absence accounted for 415,000 cases, with 150,000 cases exceeding 7 days absence.
The ILO estimates that some 2.3 million women and men around the world succumb to work-related accidents or diseases every year; this corresponds to over 6000 deaths every single day. Worldwide, there are around 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses annually.
A staggering 36.8 million working days lost (estimated) due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries in 2021/22 in the UK alone (LFS). 30.8 million days are as a result of ill health with 6 million days resulting from non-fatal injuries at work.
Ill health and stress, depression or anxiety account for an average of 17.2 days absence per instance, highlighting the importance for employers to focus on mental health as much as physical health. On average, each person suffering took around 16.5 days off work.
With such a high number of estimated days absence due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries, you'd be right in thinking that the cost to the UK is also very high.
£18.8 billion is the figure attributed to annual costs of work-related injury and ill health in 2019/20, excluding long latency illness such as cancer.
Of the £18.8 billion cost to the UK economy, £3.5 billion is picked up by employers, £3.8 billion by the government and £11.5 billion is absorbed by the taxpayer. Focussing on health & safety in the workplace is of massive benefit to all concerned; physically, mentally and financially.
Actually, the accident rate per 100,000 workers in the UK is very low. Only Germany have a lower accident rate in the EU.
The UK consistently has one of the lowest rates of fatal injury across Europe. Compared to other large European economies, the 2018 UK fatal injury rate was a similar order as Germany, and lower than France, Spain, Italy, Poland, and the EU-27average.
In 2020, the UK rates of nonfatal work-related injuries and work-related ill health resulting in time off work, compared favourably with many European countries. The EU-27 average includes the 27 countries in the European Union as of 2020 and thus excludes the United Kingdom.
914,000 Workers suffering from work related stress, depression or anxiety (new or long-standing) in 2021/22. 17.0 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2021/22.
Public admin/defence, human health, social work and education all have higher than average instances of work leave due to stress, depression or anxiety.
In the recent years prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the rate of self-reported work related stress, depression or anxiety had shown signs of increasing. The current rate is higher than the 2018/19pre-coronavirus levels.
Working days lost per worker due to self-reported work related stress, depression or anxiety shows no clear trend. In 2021/22, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic were found to be a major contributory factor to work related stress.
Estimates of work-related stress, depression or anxiety based on self-reports from the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
A record number of organisations achieved a British Safety Council International Safety Award in 2023. 773 organisations of all sizes and sectors won an International Safety Award from 44 countries worldwide.
2023 saw an increase of 12 fatalities on the previous year, 565,000 workers reportedly sustained non-fatal injuries at work in 2021/22, an increase from 441,000 in 2020/21, which shows that the UK still has a lot more to do when it comes to health & safety.
With the increased implementation of technology to aid health & safety, we should be seeing a reduction in accidents and fatalities. Likewise, with an increased awareness of the dangers of stress, anxiety and depression - more help should be available for workers.
However, it's not all doom and gloom, as a record number of companies achieved the British Safety Council's globally recognised 'International Safety Award' in 2023 - indicating an increased commitment from companies to ensure they reach the highest standards of health & safety.
Please feel free to share the Health & Safety Statistics UK - 2023 infographic, but give credit to spacebands when doing so and link back to the spacebands website - www.spacebands.com.
*RIDDOR: Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. Figures for 2022/23 are published as provisional at this stage and will be finalised July 2024.