HSE stats on health and safety identify further challenges

Greg Davies 2022

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
25th November 2022

We have amongst the safest place to work in the world, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t always scope to improve.

The “123 workers killed in work-related accidents” is still 123 too many and no doubt remains influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the more recent pre-pandemic times the figure has plateaued in the 140s, of course, any reduction here is a very good one.

Similarly, the trend for workplace injuries continues to drop, having come down by approximately 50% since the turn of the century. Again, a trend in the right direction, although, slips, trips, and falls (from the same level) (30%) and lifting handling and carrying activities (18%) continue to be the most common types of accidents reported.

For accidents and incidents covered by the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR), the picture has shown the converse, however. In 2020/21, the HSE figure was 51,211, for 2021/22, this has increased by over 10,000 to 61,713. Part of this could be explained by the return to following, and possibly underreporting during, the pandemic though, as the latest figure is closer to pre-COVID-19 levels.

In terms of work-related health, the long-term trend is though only marginally down over the last two decades and the HSE report indicates 1.8 million workers suffering from work-related ill health (new or long-standing) in 2021/22. Stress, depression, and anxiety continue to be the major cause, contributing 914,000 to the total figure.

Encouragingly, a comparison of the total number of working days lost (due to ill health and injury) over recent years has dropped by 2 million, it being 36.8 million in 2021/22, compared to 38.8 million in 2019/20. The estimated costs of these losses, do not fare so well though, having reportedly increased by £2.6 billion over the same period (£18.8 billion against £16.2 billion).

Overall, what the figures do highlight is that health, safety and wellbeing are an investment for all organisations, when delivered competently and correctly. For people, place, and process it makes the workplace a better environment and adds significant value, legally, morally, reputationally and financially.