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24 Facts and Figures about Health & Safety



  • Health and safety failures cost Great Britain up to £18 billion each year.

  • 400 people every year are still killed in accidents caused by work activities.

  • Around 25 million working days are lost every year as a result of work-related accidents and ill-health.

  • Over 25,000 people are forced to give up work every year as a result of work-related accidents and ill-health.

  • Around 2 million people - 5 per cent of the population - suffer from ill-health caused by work.

  • Over a million workers get injured every year.

  • Around half a million people suffer from stress caused by their work.

  • The most common forms of work-related ill-health are back problems and other aches and pains with 1.2 million people affected every year, causing almost 10 million working days to be lost.

  • In 1998/99 there were almost 29,000 major injuries to workers.

  • In the same period another 131,000 workers had to take more than three days off work as a result of a work-related injury.

  • More than 24,000 members of the public were injured as the result of a work activity.

  • Every year around 3000 people die as a result of past exposure to asbestos.

  • Falls from a height are the most common cause of death to employees.

  • Workers in small manufacturing firms are more than twice as likely to be killed at work than workers in larger firms in the same sector.

  • Self-employed people are twice as likely to be killed at work as employees.

  • Workplaces with safety representatives have half the rate of accidents of workplaces that don't have safety representatives.

  • The fatal injury rate for employees in Great Britain is a quarter of what it was in 1971.

  • Great Britain has a lower rate of deaths to workers than America or any other European country: the rate is 1.7 per 100,000 workers in Great Britain; 3.2 in America and an average of 3.9 across Europe.

  • The rate of deaths per 100,000 workers is 3.7 per cent in Germany and 4.3 in France.

  • The cost of work-related accidents and ill-health to employers equals £140 - £300 for each worker employed.

  • The cost of work-related accidents and illness to employees is estimated at between £3.5 billion and £7.3 billion a year.

  • Over £180 million could be saved in work-related illness costs in the construction industry alone.

  • Around one in five workers have been physically attacked or threatened by a member of the public.

  • Some insurers, particularly in higher hazard sectors, offer discounts of up to 20 per cent if employers can demonstrate good health and safety arrangements.

HSE Information Centre, Broad Lane, Sheffield S3 7HQ.
The Health and Safety Commission oversees the work of the Health and Safety Executive which, in association with local authorities, enforces health and safety at work standards in Great Britain.


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