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 to due absence from work, and healthcare costs. The total economic cost of workplace injuries and ill health includes both the financial costs incurred and a valuation of the human costs.
Latest estimates show that annually between 2013/14 and 2015/16 an average of 622,0001 workers were injured in workplace accidents and a further 528,0002 workers suffered a new case of ill health which they believe to be caused or made worse by their work.
Total costs showed a downward trend between 2004/05 and 2009/10; since then, the annual cost has been broadly level. This fall was driven by falls in injury costs.
18% lower than 2004/05
(Injury costs 35% lower; change in ill health costs not statistically significant)
Broadly level with 2009/10
These costs provide a good representation of the cost of illness and injury arising from current working conditions3.
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.
1Source: Labour Force Survey (non-fatal injuries) and RIDDOR (fatal injuries), annual average estimate 2013/14-2015/16.
2 Source: Labour Force Survey, annual average estimate 2013/14-2015/16.
3 Restricting the estimate of ill health cases to self-reports of newly occurring illness allows us to best capture those cases arising from current working conditions. HSE has recently published research which estimates the costs of new cases of work-related cancer arising from past working conditions.