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Costs to Great Britain of workplace injuries and new cases of work-related ill health - 2015/16

Each year, significant numbers of workers are injured or made ill by their work. These cases impose ‘human’ costs (in terms of the impact on the individual’s quality of life and, for fatal injuries, loss of life), as well as the ‘financial’ costs, such as loss of production due to absence from work, and healthcare costs. The total costs of workplace injuries and ill health includes both the financial costs and a valuation of the human costs. 

Latest estimates show that annually between 2014/15 and 2016/17 an average of 614,000 workers were injured in workplace accidents and a further 521,000 workers suffered a new case of ill health which they believe to be caused or made worse by their work.1

Estimating the economic costs of these cases...

Estimating the economic costs of these cases-£14.3 bn- cost of workplace injury and illness

Source: HSE Costs to Britain Model

Total costs showed a downward trend between 2004/05 and 2009/10; this fall was driven by a reduction in the number of workplace injuries. Since then, total annual costs have been broadly level.

18% lower than 2004/05 (Injury costs 33% lower; change in ill health costs not statistically significant

15.6% lower than 2004/05
(Injury costs 35% lower than 2004/05; change in ill health costs not statistically significant)

Broadly level with 2009/10

Broadly level with 2009/10

These costs provide a good representation of the cost of illness and injury arising from current working conditions2.

The majority of costs fall on individuals, while employers and government/taxpayers bear a similar proportion of the costs of workplace injury and ill health.

Individual costs make up £8.2bn, employer costs of £2.8bn and government have costs of £3.4bn

Source: HSE Costs to Britain Model


  1. Source: Labour Force Survey(non-fatal injuries) and RIDDOR (fatal injuries), annual average estimate 2014/15-2016/17
  2. Restricting the estimate of ill health cases to self-reports of newly occurring ill health allows us to best capture those cases arising from current working conditions.  HSE has published research which estimates the costs of new cases of work-related cancer arising from past working conditions.

More information about costs to Britain of workplace injuries and ill health

Updated 2017-11-10