Infographic - UK Health & Safety Statistics 2023

Infographic - UK Health & Safety Statistics 2023

Updated 04.12.23 to include new information from the HSE 2023 Health & Safety Report.

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.

Summary

Nearly 1.8 million workers in Great Britain reported suffering from work-related ill health in 2022/23. Approximately half of these cases were attributed to stress, depression, or anxiety.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of self-reported work-related ill health had remained relatively stable. However, the current rate is higher than that observed in 2018/19.

In 2022/23, there were an estimated 875,000 cases of work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. The current rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression, or anxiety exceeds the pre-pandemic level.

35.2 million working days were lost in 2022/23 due to self-reported work-related ill health or injury.

Sarah Albon, the chief executive of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), emphasised the importance of preventing or addressing work-related stress. Doing so can yield significant benefits for employees, including improved work experiences and overall health. Employers also stand to gain from increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and lower staff turnover.

HSE’s statistics also shed light on the impact of work-related ill health and workplace injuries on Britain’s economic performance. In 2021/22, the estimated annual costs of workplace injury and new cases of work-related ill health reached £20.7 billion, representing a £1.9 billion increase compared to 2019/20.

Additionally, the figures reveal that 135 workers lost their lives in work-related accidents during 2022/23, while 561,000 workers sustained self-reported non-fatal injuries in the workplace during the same period.

Key figures for Great Britain (2022/23)

  • 1.8 million working people suffering from a work-related illness, of which
  • 875,000 workers suffering work-related stress, depression or anxiety
  • 473,000 workers suffering from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder
  • 2,268 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2021)
  • 135 workers killed in work-related accidents
  • 561,000 working people sustained an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey
  • 60,645 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 35.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
  • £20.7 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2021/22)

Workplace Fatalities

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:

UK worker deaths 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.

deaths by type of accident in the UK 2022/2023
UK fatalities by accident type

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.

68 members of the public were killed in work-related accidents in 2022/23

(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).

The World Health Organisation estimates that almost 2 million people die from work-related causes each year worldwide.

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.

Workplace accidents

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:

  • 914,000 workers suffering work-related stress, depression or anxiety
  • 477,000 workers suffering from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder
  • 123,000 workers suffering from COVID-19 which they believe may have been from exposure to coronavirus at work

Injuries of up to a 7 day absence accounted for 415,000 cases, with 150,000 cases exceeding 7 days absence.

non-fatal injuries by accident type

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.

Working Days Lost

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.

working days lost

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.

Cost of Workplace Injuries

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.

cost bearer of injuries

cost of injuries

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.

How does UK health & safety compare to the rest of Europe?

Actually, the accident rate per 100,000 workers in the UK is very low. Only Germany have a lower accident rate in the EU.

Accident rate per 100,000 employees at work European comparison
Accident rate per 100,000 employees at work, European comparison

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.

Work Related Stress

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.

stress, depression and anxiety industries

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).

Safety Awards

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.

British Safety Council - International Safety Award 2023
British Safety Council - International Safety Award 2023

Conclusion

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.

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