The HSE has issued their latest annual statistics for levels of work related injury and ill health in the UK. These statistics cover the year April 2019 to March 2020 and are not thought to have been significantly affected by Covid-19.
The figures show that 1.6 million workers were suffering from work related ill health (new or long term) in the period including 638,000 workers suffering from a new case of work related ill health. Work related ill health is estimated to have resulted in 32.5 million lost working days.
Together musculoskeletal disorders and stress depression or anxiety accounted for over 80% of ill health and working days lost.
Musculoskeletal disorders include injuries and conditions that can affect the back, joints and limbs, they can have many causes including bending, crouching or stooping, lifting heavy or bulky loads, pushing, pulling or dragging heavy loads, stretching, twisting and reaching, repetitive work, particularly using the same hand or arm action, sustained or excessive force, carrying out a task for a long time, work with display screen equipment, working with hand-held power tools for a long time, driving heavy vehicles, long-distance driving or driving over rough ground, poor working environment or organisation or factors to do with the workers themselves.
It important that risks in your workplace such as manual handling, repetitive work and awkward postures, work with display screen equipment, exposure to vibration, etc in your workplace are properly assessed with suitable controls put in place.
Other risks that need to be assessed include exposure to harmful substances and dusts, the latest statistics show an estimated 13,000 deaths each year are associated with such exposures, examples include occupational lung disease and mesothelioma associated with exposures to asbestos.
Overall it is estimated that work related injury and ill health cost Great Britain £16.2 billion annually of which approximately £3.2 billion is borne by employers, £3.5 billion by the Government and £9.6 billion by individuals.
Full details of the latest statistics can be found on the HSE’s website at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/