November 23, 2022

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HSE annual stats reveal worrying trend around mental health

HSE’s annual statistics show stress, depression and anxiety make up almost half of work-related illnesses.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today (23 November) published its annual statistics on work-related ill health and workplace injuries revealing a worrying trend around mental health.

The report shows the estimated number of workers in Great Britain suffering a work-related illness is 1.8 million with stress, depression, and anxiety make up around half of cases. The figures show there were an estimated 914,000 cases of work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2021/22 and an estimated 17 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2021/22. This is over half of all working days lost due to work-related ill health.

The statistics also show the impact work-related ill health is having on Great Britain’s economic performance including 36.8 million working days being lost due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries in 2021/22. In 2019/20, the annual economic cost of work-related injury and new cases of ill health (excluding long latency illnesses such as cancer) was £18.8 billion.

The figures also show that 123 workers were killed in work-related accidents in 2021/22 and a further 565,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact on the workplace. Of the 1.8 million suffering a work-related illness, an estimated 585,000 reported it was caused or made worse by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Around a quarter of these workers were in human health and social work. In addition, 123,000 workers suffering with COVID-19 believed they were exposed to the virus at work.

HSE’s Chief Executive, Sarah Albon, said the report highlighted the need for a greater focus on worker’s wellbeing, “Stress and poor mental health is the number one cause of work-related ill health. The effects of stress, depression, and anxiety can have a significant impact on an employee’s life and on their ability to perform their best at work. Britain is one of the safest places in the world to work but we need all employers to do more and take seriously their responsibilities to support good mental health at work.”

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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1 year ago

I doubt incidence, just reporting – the old school would suck it up and soldier on, there is more awareness and acceptance of mental health issues and the younger “woke/snowflake” generation will complain about the slightest thing, we had one claim to be stressed because they had a day off sick and had two days worth of emails to read.

1 year ago

Simon, I am sure just sucking it up and soldiering on never did anyone any harm. Or maybe those people were still struggling inside but unable to seek help or guidance because of a general culture full of attitudes like yours. How many men have died of issues that could be resolved because they didn’t want to go to the doctors to seek help and thought they should just man up and deal with it. In addition the modern world contains pressures and problems affecting mental health that did not exist when you were younger. Such as the demand from… Read more »

Anita Steyn
Anita Steyn
1 year ago

Well, interesting statistics and harsh reality to deal with. Leadership creating a culture of openness and coping mechanisms and open communication would help most definitely. I think it goes beyond just the traditional approach of hazard identification and risk assessment. It must be approached in a fresh and positive organizational culture strategy.

Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree
1 year ago

Nothing new here, the HSE was identifying 58% of DSE operators suffering presenteeism, loss of productivity yet carrying-on regardless of self-harming way back in 2007 review. Their 2017 DSE Safety Alert expediently ignored the 2016 WHO ICD-10 and omitted the 2019 Review another two years and still not admitted that in order to qualify for FREE PPE display screen glasses you have to be diagnosed with a significant visual repetitive stress injury, Computer Vision Syndrome, blurred or worse double vision, myopic and asthenopic disease predictable in those who have not made custom “reasonable adjustments” preventing or mitigating Product Safety issues,… Read more »