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New HSE statistics reveal accidents and ill-health cost UK economy billions

New HSE statistics reveal accidents and ill-health cost UK economy billions
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published its annual statistics today (22nd November), indicating a dramatic rise in the costs of work-related ill-health and injury.

Annual costs of new cases of work-related ill-health are up from £11.2 billion to £13.1 billion, a 17% rise. That’s an extra £1.9 billion cost to the UK economy. Meanwhile, costs of workplace injuries are £7.7 billion, adding another £100 million to last year’s total.

These costs are comprised of two factors: financial costs and human costs. Financial costs cover loss of output by businesses that have to do without ill or injured employees, as well as the practical healthcare bills incurred. Human costs are a monetary valuation given to the side-effects of injury and ill-health, such as pain, loss, grief and loss of life.

Another significant increase shows 135 workers killed in work-related accidents, up from 123 in 2021/22. The greatest number of deaths continue to occur in the construction and agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors. Falls from a height are the most common type of fatal accident, with 40 in the last year.

Non-fatal injuries have remained steady at 561,000, with only a slight decrease of 4,000 from last year. 32% of accidents were slips, trips and falls, meaning they are still the most common way workers sustain non-fatal injuries at work.

Despite these increases, year on year 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 - 0.61 per 100,000 workers to Germany’s 0.55.

The same Eurostat figures show the UK’s fatal injury rate is lower than France, Spain, Italy, Poland, and lower than the average of all 27 countries in the European Union.

Despite this, the rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety is increasing. Numbers are higher than the 2018/19 pre-coronavirus level, and time lost from these conditions show no sign of decreasing, standing at 17.1 million working days. The most at-risk sectors are healthcare and social work, with over 3,500 per 100,000 workers suffering from mental ill-health.

Announcing the publication of the statistics, HSE’s chief executive Sarah Albon said: “Preventing or tackling work-related stress can provide significant benefits to employees, improving their experience of work and their overall health; and also to employers including increased productivity, decreased absenteeism and reduced staff turnover.”

For more information on health and safety in the workplace, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like How can Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) Engineering help keep people safe?

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