HSE 2020/21 health & safety at work statistics: The 5 key takeaways

The HSE have released the annual health and safety figures for the year 2020/2021, and here are the 5 key takeaways.

1. Because of COVID-19, no statistics on working days lost and economic costs are included in this year’s statistics.

Because of the discontinuity in collecting statistics presented by COVID-19 measures such as furlough, the HSE have decided to omit statistics on working days lost and their associated economic costs.

Instead, they have released a 29-page technical report on how the pandemic has affected the collection and interpretation of the latest health & safety statistics, which can be found on: https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/coronavirus/covid-19.pdf

However, data on how many workers were directly affected by the coronavirus illness is included (see number 2).

2. New and long-standing infectious disease (virus, bacteria) illnesses have more than tripled

After going up by 21% to 1.63 million in 19/20, new and long-standing illnesses have increased slightly to 1.66 million this year.

Significantly, infectious disease (virus, bacteria) illnesses more than tripled, from 30,000 cases in 19/20 to 93,000 cases this year. According to the HSE, the cases are all for COVID-19 which respondents believe may have been from exposure to coronavirus at work.

However, only 32,110 COVID-19 cases were reported to Enforcing Authorities in 2020/21 which employers believed may be caused by exposure to coronavirus at work.

Positively, whilst stress, depression or anxiety cases went up a worrying 37% in 19/20, this year they have decreased by around 2,000 cases; and in other positive news, work-related musculoskeletal disorder cases fell for a third consecutive year, decreasing by 23,000 cases to 470,000.

3. Workplace fatalities have returned above the 5-year average

After a record low of workplace fatalities last year (113), deaths have climbed to 142 – above the 16/17 to 20/21 5-year average of 136.

The most common cause of fatal injuries continues to be falls from height (35), followed by being struck by a moving vehicle (25) and being struck by a moving object (17), which altogether account for more than half of the fatalities.

4. Serious injuries have had their largest yearly decrease in 40 years:

Self-reported non-fatal injuries have reduced by an estimated 250,000 cases (36%), with slips, trips and falls accounting for 33% of these cases and manual handling accounting for 18%.

There was also a notable reduction in serious workplace injuries this year; with 51,211 employee non-fatal injuries reported by employers to RIDDOR – which is over 15,000 cases less than 2019/20.

This represents the largest yearly drop in RIDDOR-reported injuries since 1980.

5. HSE prosecutions are down more than 40%

After a significant drop in HSE (and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in Scotland) notices, prosecutions and fines in 2019/20, this year saw prosecutions fall by 36% and total fines fall by 23%.

The construction industry, which suffered the most prosecutions last year (42%), saw prosecutions more than halve this year; although it still remains the sector with the highest prosecutions (37%).

On the other hand, the manufacturing industry had the second most prosecutions (32%), but remains the sector with the highest fine total (£8 million) – half of its total fines in 19/20.


Bibliography

HSE (2021) ‘Health and safety statistics’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/ (accessed: 17/12/2021)

HSE (2021) ‘Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2021’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf (accessed: 20/12/2021)

HSE (2021) ‘Kinds of accident statistics in Great Britain, 2021’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causinj/kinds-of-accident.pdf (accessed: 20/12/2021)

HSE (2021) ‘Historical picture statistics in Great Britain, 2021 – trends in work-related ill health and workplace injury’. Available at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/history/historical-picture.pdf (accessed: 20/12/2021)

HSE (2021) ‘Enforcement statistics in Great Britain, 2021’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/enforcement.pdf (accessed: 20/12/2021)

HSE (2021) ‘LFS – Labour Force Survey – Self-reported work-related ill health and workplace injuries: Index of LFS tables’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/lfs/index.htm#illness (accessed: 17/12/2021)

HSE (2021) Technical Report: The Impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the interpretation of Health and Safety Statistics 2020/21 https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/adhoc-analysis/covid19-impact19-20.pdf (accessed 17/12/2021)

HSE releases workplace fatality figures for 2020/21

A total of 142 workers were killed at work in Great Britain in 2020/21, which is a 26% increase (29 deaths) from the previous year, newly released HSE figures show.

However, the number of fatalities has remained level in recent years – the average annual number of workers killed at work over the five years from 2016/17 to 2020/21 is 136, putting this year’s numbers slightly above average.

The most common cause of fatal injuries continues to be falls from height (35), followed by being struck by a moving vehicle (25) and being struck by a moving object (17), which all account for more than half of the fatalities.

One notable finding was the disproportionate risks to older workers; with around 30% (41) of fatal injuries involving workers aged 60+, even though they only make up around 11% of the workforce.

In another finding, 38% of worker fatal injuries were to self-employed workers even though they only make up 16% of workers. In comparison, the proportion of fatal injuries to self-employed workers is higher in 2020/21 than in the 5-year period from 2016/17 to 2020/21, where 31% of fatal injuries were to self-employed workers.

A more positive finding saw a 43% decrease in workplace fatal injuries to members of the public as a result of a work-related incident, with 60 fatalities in 2020/21 compared to 106 in 2019/20.


Sources

HSE (2021) ‘Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2021’. Available at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf (accessed: 13/07/2021)

HSE (2021) ‘HSE releases annual workplace fatality figures for 2020/21’. Available at: https://press.hse.gov.uk/2021/07/07/hse-releases-annual-workplace-fatality-figures-for-2020-21/ (accessed: 13/07/2021)

HSE 2019/20 health & safety at work statistics: The 5 key takeaways

The HSE have released the annual health and safety figures for the year 2019/2020, and here are the 5 key takeaways.

Please note that this report falls largely outside the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public life (the first nationwide lockdown began 23rd March). Therefore findings should not be mainly attributed as to being the results of the pandemic.

1. Worker stress, depression or anxiety cases are up 37% from last year:

The cases for new and long-standing illnesses last year totalled 1.35 million, and this year’s figure is up a significant 21% to 1.63 million.

However, the most significant news: stress, depression or anxiety cases have gone up by a worrying 37% and are now the primary illness type (51%) of all new and long-standing illness cases (they made up 45% of cases last year). Stress, depression or anxiety are also responsible for an estimated 17.9 million working days lost this year – a massive increase of 40% from last year.

Overall, working days lost due to illness have gone up by 9 million (a 39% increase) from last year to 32.5 million – the highest number since 2001/02.

However, the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorder cases (480,000) fell by around 18,000 cases compared to 18/19, although new incidents were 14,000 more than last year.

2. Infectious disease cases had not increased by the end of March:

In the latest Labour Force Survey, work-related infectious disease (virus, bacteria) incidents remain unchanged from last year at around 24,000 cases, below the 2017 to 2019 3-year average of just over 30,000 cases. It must be noted again that the survey only relates to ill-health cases during the 12-month period before March this year.

However with the first COVID-19 case in the UK confirmed on 31 January, this is a notable finding.

3. Workplace fatalities reached a record low:

There were 111 worker (or employees/self-employed) fatalities in 19/20 – the lowest figure ever reported by RIDDOR since records began in 1974. The rate of fatal injuries also fell to a record low of 0.34 per 100,000 workers.

Whilst falls from height remain the biggest cause of death to workers (26%), the overall fall in fatalities continues an ongoing positive downward trend.

4. There are less serious injuries occurring at work, but more people are getting injured:

This year there were 4,937 less non-fatal injuries than last year for the lowest recorded figure from RIDDOR since 1985. Slips, trips or falls remain the biggest cause of RIDDOR reported injuries (29%).

However, this contrasts with Labour Force Survey statistics reporting 112,000 more non-fatal workplace injuries than last year, reaching the highest figure since 2010/11 with an estimated 693,000 cases this year.

Additionally, an estimated 6.3 million days were lost due to workplace injury – an increase of 1.6 million (34%) from last year.

This means that an estimated 38.8 million working days this year were lost due to work-related ill-health and non-fatal injuries; of which, at 10.6 million days more than 2018/19 is the largest single-year change on record.

5. HSE notices, prosecutions and fines fell significantly this year

2019/20 saw a 21% fall in notices issued by enforcing bodies, a 13% & 12% drop in prosecutions & convictions respectively by the HSE (and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in Scotland), and a 34% drop in fines.

The construction industry remained the sector with the most convictions (42% of all convictions), but manufacturing organisations were responsible for 45% of all fines received (£16 million) whilst only responsible for 27% of convictions.


Bibliography

HSE (2020) ‘Health and safety statistics’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/ (accessed: 24/11/2020)

HSE (2020) ‘Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2020’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf (accessed: 24/11/2020)

HSE (2020) ‘Kinds of accident statistics in Great Britain, 2020’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causinj/kinds-of-accident.pdf (accessed: 24/11/2020)

HSE (2020) ‘Historical picture statistics in Great Britain, 2020 – trends in work-related ill health and workplace injury’. Available at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/history/historical-picture.pdf (accessed: 24/11/2020)

HSE (2020) ‘Enforcement statistics in Great Britain, 2020’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/enforcement.pdf

HSE (2020) ‘LFS – Labour Force Survey – Self-reported work-related ill health and workplace injuries: Index of LFS tables’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/lfs/index.htm#illness (accessed: 24/11/2020)

HSE (2020) Potential impact of COVID-19 on HSE’s main statistical data sources in 2019/20 https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/adhoc-analysis/covid19-impact19-20.pdf (accessed 24/11/2020)

HSE releases 2018/19 health & safety figures: The key takeaways

The 2018/19 Health and safety statistics summary can be found on: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/

The HSE have released the annual health and safety figures for the year 2018/2019, and here are the key takeaways:

1. Work related ill-health cases are a mixed bag:

The cases for new and long-standing illnesses last year totalled 1.36 million; and this year’s figure is down ever so slightly (1.35 million); however work-related musculoskeletal disorder cases (498,000) are up from last year (470,000) by a large 28,000 cases.

Stress, depression or anxiety cases (which made up 44% of all illness cases last year and an almost identical 45% this year) are up by around 6,000 and are responsible for 54% of all working days lost due to illness this year. However, working days missed due to stress, depression or anxiety are 2.7 million less than last year; a significant improvement.

Overall, working days lost due to all work-related ill health are down by almost 3.5 million; however the annual total costs of illness to businesses (around £15 billion) has remained unchanged from last year.

2. Fatal injuries to workers have gone up:

In 2017/18 there were 141 worker fatalities and in 2018/19 the figure is up to 147, which is the joint highest figure for 6 years but slightly lower (149) than the ten-year average since 2009/10. However a downward trend still remains overall, with the latest ten-year average a full 56% lower than the previous decade’s average of 233 fatalities a year.

3. Workplace fatal injuries to members of the public have gone down:

Fatal injuries to members of the public have declined from last year, with the latest figure of 92 the lowest since 1996 and well below the 1999 to 2019 twenty-year average of 322* fatalities. In Europe as a whole, the UK still retains a lower workplace fatality rate than Germany, Italy, France and Spain – in fact the UK three-year average rate for 2013-2015 was the lowest of all EU member states.

*Major changes in 2013/14 and 2015/16 to what is included in public fatalities figures should be taken into account when interpreting these statistics.

4. Less people are getting injured at work:

This year there were 2,323 less non-fatal injuries than last year (69,208 injuries compared to last year’s figures of 71,531). This latest figure is the lowest recorded since 1985, and the rate of non-fatal injuries to workers has shown a long-term downward trend overall. As a result, 28.2 million working days this year were lost due to work-related ill-health and non-fatal injuries compared to 30.7 million days last year; a significant improvement.

5. The HSE prosecuted less cases this year

2017/18 saw 11,522 notices issued by enforcing bodies, 493 cases prosecuted (or referred to COPFS in Scotland) by the HSE, and £72.6 million in fines from such convictions; and 2018/19 saw slightly less issued notices (11,040), more than 120 less prosecutions (364) and £54.5 million in fines — £18.1 million less than last year. However, the average fine per case this year is similar to last year (£150,000 and £148,000 respectively), which indicates that the significant drop in fines is most likely a result of the fall in HSE prosecutions.


Bibliography

HSE (2019) ‘Health and safety statistics’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/ (accessed: 11/11/2019)

HSE (2019) ‘Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2019’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf (accessed: 12/11/2019)

HSE (2019) ‘Kinds of accident statistics in Great Britain, 2019’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causinj/kinds-of-accident.pdf (accessed: 12/11/2019)

HSE (2019) ‘Historical picture statistics in Great Britain, 2019 – trends in work-related ill health and workplace injury’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/history/index.htm (accessed: 12/11/2019)

HSE (-) ‘European comparisons’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/european/ (accessed: 12/11/2019)

HSE (2019) ‘Health and Safety statistics in the United Kingdom, 2019’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/european/european-comparisons.pdf (accessed: 12/11/2019)

HSE (2019) ‘Enforcement statistics in Great Britain, 2019’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/enforcement.pdf

HSE (2019) ‘LFS – Labour Force Survey – Self-reported work-related ill health and workplace injuries: Index of LFS tables’. Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/lfs/index.htm#illness (accessed: 13/11/2019)

Contact Us