Each year, significant numbers of workers are injured or made ill by their work. As well as the financial costs from these cases (for example, in terms of lost production and healthcare costs), these cases impose human costs (in terms of the impact on the individual’s quality of life and for fatal injuries, loss of life). 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 over 600,0001 workers are injured in workplace accidents and a further 500,0002 workers suffer a new case of ill health which they believe is caused or made worse by their work.
Total costs have fallen over the last 10 years, though more recently show signs of levelling off. This fall is driven by falls in injury costs.
18% lower than 2004/05 (Injury costs 33% 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.
1 Source: Labour Force Survey (non-fatal injuries) and RIDDOR (fatal injuries), annual average estimate 2012/13-2014/15.
2 Source: Labour Force Survey, annual average estimate 2011/12, 2013/14, 2014/15.
3By 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 will be publishing a separate estimate of costs of work-related cancer towards the end of 2015.