November 1, 2017

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

HSE logo1.3 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.


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.

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SafetyladyPeteNigel DupreeAmy Recent comment authors
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Interesting – you article quotes 5 million new and long standing cases of work-related stress, depression and anxiety, and 5 million wor-related MSDs, but the HSE infographic suggests 500,000 for each. Which statistics should we trust?


Possibly a case of a floating decimal point? The key facts page on the HSE link states 0.5 Million.

Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree

So, if work related ill-health accounts for £7bn that leaves approx £23bn for presenteeism including Screen Fatigue or Computer Vision Syndrome as longer latency ill-health has been excluded anyway.

Then there are the 5 million each where emotional wellbeing and/or physical impairment contributes to either lost productivity or down-time off sick leave or permanently off, burned out not to return.

I have to wonder whether this is denial, carelessness, just not bovered like, you know, or expediency in encouraging staff self-turnover with little real risk of any occupational health claims ???


The HSE have to use the LFS to identify ‘work-related’ stress – surely a subjective diagnosis at best – as they do not themselves require any data from employers through RIDDOR. All a bit ‘guess-work’ isn’t it?