As we see the effects of the COVID-19 disruption create what is our “new normal”, how is this being reflected in the health and safety trends we are now seeing?

Using the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) “Health and safety at work - Summary statistics for Great Britain 2023”, this month we are considering what some of the trends indicate.

In this whitepaper:

  1. What were the trends in Great Britain for 2023?
  2. Work-related fatal injuries
  3. Work-related, reported injuries
  4. Work-related ill health and occupational diseases
  5. Some further thoughts

1. What were the trends in Great Britain for 2023?

The headline findings/statistics from the HSE report include:

  • 135 workers killed at work in 2022/23 figures;
  • 60,645 non-fatal, work-related injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR;
  • 561,000 working people sustaining an injury at work according to self-reports to the Labour Force Survey; and
  • 1.8 million working people suffering from a work-related illness.

In total, work related illness and injury led to a loss of 35.2 million working days (2022/23) at an estimated cost of £20.7 billion (annual costs of workplace injury and new cases of work-related ill health in 2021/22, excluding long latency illness such as cancer).

The good news is the last 50 years have seen a gradual decrease in fatal injuries at work, from over 500 to the 135 we see this year, albeit 135 too many. The figures though have somewhat plateaued over the last decade, the only exception to this being the 2019/2020 COVID-19 affected figure of 111.

Health and safety statistics - HSE

2. Work-related fatal injuries

The profile of risk for fatal accidents has changed little over recent years with:

  • Falls from a height (40)
  • Struck by a moving object (29) 
  • Struck by a moving vehicle (20)
  • Trapped by something collapsing/overturning (12)
  • Contact with moving machinery (9)

Against this, 68 members of the public were also killed because of work-related accidents. All these figures were reported by HSE in their “Work related fatal injuries report” for 2022/23.

By sector, construction (45) accounted for 33% of reported fatalities, agriculture, forestry, and fishing (21), 15% and manufacturing (15), wholesale, retail, motor repair, accommodation, and food (15), transport and storage (15) 11% each. Admin and support services and waste and recycling both had 6 reported fatalities, so 4% each of the total. 

When adjusting the rates to account for the levels of employment (the rate of fatal injury per 100,000 workers), agriculture, forestry and fishing and waste and recycling, with a rate of 7.87 and 5.02 respectively were the most dangerous. Construction in comparison had a rate of 2.10 and manufacturing 0.57.

Work-related fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2023 (

Statistics - Work-related fatal injuries in Great Britain (

3. Work-related, reported injuries

For non-fatal injuries, 561,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries (self-reports from the Labour Force Survey) and 60,645 employees had non-fatal injuries reported through RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013), in 2022/23. 

Over the year, the highest frequency of non-fatal injuries reported by employers were:

  • Slips, trips, or falls on same level (32%)
  • Handling, lifting, or carrying (17%)
  • Struck by moving object (11%)
  • Falls from a height (8%)
  • Acts of violence (8%)

The last two decades have again seen a significant reduction in the number of non-fatal injuries being reported, with the non-fatal accidents per 100,000 workers figure of 4,000 in 2001/2, reducing to 1,750 in 2022/23.

Statistics - Non-fatal injuries at work in Great Britain (

4. Work-related ill health and occupational diseases

1.8 million working people were suffering from a work-related illness either new or long standing in 2022/23. Despite the trend over the past 20 years showing a decrease (it had flattened somewhat in the years before COVID-19), rates have since risen again with the latest standardised rate of 5,250 per 100,000 workers self-reporting work-related ill health.

Three major measures are published for work-related ill health and their relative percentages of illness, these are:

  • Stress, depression, or anxiety (49%)
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (27%)
  • Other ill health conditions* (24%)

*Other ill health conditions include occupational cancer, work-related skin disease, hand-arm vibration, and noise induced hearing loss.

While there has been a  gradual decrease in the numbers of new and long-standing musculoskeletal disorders being reported per 100,000 employees since 2001/02, cases of work-related stress, depression and anxiety are continuing to rise.

For occupational diseases, occupational lung disease is a significant factor. These would include, work-related asthma, work-related Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), silicosis and coal workers pneumoconiosis, other occupational lung disease, and asbestos-related disease. 

In combination occupational lung disease is estimated to be responsible for: 

  • 12,000 deaths annually (resulting from historic exposure) - HSE; and
  • 19,000 new cases of self-reported breathing/lung problems caused or made worse by work per year (averaged over the last three years - Labour Force Survey).

Statistics - Work-related ill health and occupational disease (

5. Some further thoughts

With the now not so “new normal” continuing to offer challenges as well as opportunities, there are several factors we need to continue to make sure our health and safety remains both suitable and sufficient and fit for purpose to our organisations, these should include:

  • Have your health and safety policy and procedures been reviewed recently and are they relevant to your organisation now?
  • Have changes in work style, operations and building use been suitably reflected in your risk registers and arrangements?
  • Is your current provision for mental health provision suitable? How is it being used, and do you need to adapt your provision to reflect changes in your work practices?
  • Has your supply chain been able to adapt with you, to change and continue to deliver what you need? Have you assessed/re-assessed your main suppliers to make sure they can still offer the service you need?
  • What information are you currently gathering on your health, safety and building performance, and how is this being reported/disseminated?

Assurity Consulting is the UK’s leading independent consultancy specialising in workplace health, safety and environmental solutions. As your partner in compliance management you will reap the benefit of our more than 35 years’ experience of helping customers across a range of different sectors – manage their compliance responsibilities as effectively as possible. If you need any help with your health, safety or environmental compliance, or if you would like more information on the services Assurity Consulting offer, please get in touch.