HSE annual figures: Deaths down but ill-health costing UK £14.9bn a year

1.3 million workers were suffering from work related ill-health, and there were 609,000 workplace injuries in 2016/17, the latest annual statistics from the HSE reveal.

There were 137 fatal injuries in Britain’s workplaces – a decrease on 2015/16 (144) and 2014/15 (142).

For the first time, stress became the UK’s biggest work-related illness, overtaking musculoskeletal disorder cases.

The HSE has highlighted that while the statistics show that Britain remains one of the safest places to work, there is still work to do to drive figures down.

Overall, workplace injury and new cases of ill health cost Britain £14.9bn a year with 31.2 million working days lost.

The annual statistics, compiled by HSE from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and other sources, cover work-related ill health, workplace injuries, working days lost, costs to Britain and enforcement action taken.

Top line statistics show that in 2016/17 there were:

  • 137 fatal injuries in Britain’s workplaces
  • 70,116 other injuries reported by employers
  • 12,000 lung disease deaths estimated to be linked to past work exposures
  • 554 cases prosecuted with fines from convictions totalling £69.9 million
  • 7 billion – the annual costs of new cases of work-related ill health in 2015/16, excluding long latency illness such as cancer
  • 5 million work-related stress, depression or anxiety cases (new or longstanding) in 2016/17
  • 5 million Work-related musculoskeletal disorder cases (new or longstanding) in 2016/17.

Enforcement

Though there were fewer prosecutions taken in 2016/17, the statistics show an increase in fines to £69.9 million from the 2015/16 total of £38.8 million. New sentencing guidelines in England and Wales were introduced in 2016. Twenty large fines accounted for £30.7 million of the new figure.

In addition:

  • 554 cases prosecuted, or referred to COPFS for prosecution in Scotland, by HSE where a conviction was achieved in 2016/17
  • 11,913 notices were issued by all enforcing bodies in 2016/17
  • £69.9million In fines resulting from prosecutions taken, or referred to COPFS for prosecution in Scotland, by HSE where a conviction was achieved in 2016/17.