Wednesday 30 October 2013 saw the release of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Annual Statistics Report 2012/13. The report provides the latest top level statistics in relation to work-related ill-health, workplace fatalities and injuries and enforcement in Great Britain for the period April 2012 to March 2013.

 As shown in the numbers section below, there was a significant decrease in the number of work-related fatalities and injuries from the previous year.

 Although the reduction of reportable injuries was to be expected following the move from 3-day to 7-day reporting, the figures showing fewer fatalities is illustrative of the fact that Britain continues to have one of the lowest levels of workplace fatalities in Europe. 

The figures also indicate an 11% year-on-year drop in major injuries such as amputations, fractures and burns from 22,094 to 19,707 for the 2012/13 period.

Chair of the HSE Judith Hackitt believes the positive results “demonstrate that Britain continues to improve its health and safety performance” however warns that the job is not done; “we still see too many deaths and injuries occur in the work place, many of which could have been prevented through simple safety measures. Getting this right is the key to ensuring that everyone can make it home safely at the end of their working day.

It should also be noted that there has been little change in relation to the industries in which workers are most at risk, with construction (156major injuries per 100,000 employees), agriculture (239.4 per 100,000) and waste (369.8 per 100,000) being the highest-risk sectors.

 The HSE have published the full report and further guidance in relation to HSE statistics, which gives more information on this topic.  

The report in numbers

Here are some of the key facts and figures produced in this years’ report:

Fatalities and Injuries

  • 148 workers were killed at work at a rate of 0.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers (down from 172 at a rate of 0.6 in 2011/12).
  • 19,707 major injuries at a rate of 78.5 major injuries per 100,000 employees (down from 22,094 at a rate of 88.5 in 2011/12).
  • 78,222 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR at a rate of 311.6 per 100,000 employees (down from 111,164 at a rate of 445.4 in 2011/12).
  • 175,000 reportable injuries (over-7-day absence) occurred at a rate of 610 per 100,000 workers (down from 212,000 at a rate of 750 in 2011/12 (3-day reporting)).

Ill-health

  • 1.1 million people who worked during the last year were suffering from an illness (long-standing as well as new cases) they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work. 0.5 million of these were new conditions which started during the year*.
  • A further 0.7 million former workers (who last worked over 12 months ago) were suffering from an illness which was caused or made worse by their past work*.
  • 2291 people died from mesothelioma in 2011 and thousands more from other occupational cancers and diseases such as COPD.

Enforcement

  • 574 cases were prosecuted by HSE in England and Wales. 
  • 105 cases were prosecuted by local authorities in England and Wales.
  • 27 cases were prosecuted by the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland.
  • 13,503 enforcement notices were issued by all enforcing authorities.

Working days lost

  • 27 million days were lost overall in 2011/12* due to work-related ill health or injury (17 days per case).
  • 22.7 million due to work-related ill health and 4.3 million due to workplace injury. A more recent estimate for injuries indicates that 5.2 million days were lost in 2012/13 (no data is available for ill health). 

Economic costs to Britain

  • Workplace injuries and ill health (excluding cancer) cost society an estimated £13.8 billion in 2010/11 (based on 2011 prices).

* This data refers to 2011/12 – no Labour Force Survey data for ill health is available for 2012/13.