Health and safety systems differ across Europe in recording, reporting and enforcement. The European statistical office (Eurostat) publishes data in as standardised a form as possible. Data available on Eurostat shows that UK performance is favourable compared to other EU countries, with relatively low rates of work-related fatalities, injuries and ill health.
The latest information shows:
- Standardised rates of fatal injury across the EU-15 and GB/UK show a downward trend over the period 1999-2013. The EU-15 comprises Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK (up to 2010 fatal injury data provided for the UK covered Great Britain only) (Eurostat, ESAW, 2013).
- The UK consistently has one of the lowest rates of fatal injury across the EU. In 2013 the standardised rate was 0.51 per 100,000 employees*, which compares favourably with other large economies such as France (2.94 per 100,000 employees), Germany (0.81 per 100,000 employees), Italy (1.24 per 100,000 employees) and Spain (1.55 per 100,000 employees) (Eurostat, ESAW, 2013).
- In 2013, 1.4% of UK workers reported an injury occurring at work that resulted in sick leave. Compared to other large economies, this was lower than Spain (1.8%), Italy (1.8%) and France (3.1%) and higher than Poland (0.7%) (Eurostat, EU LFS, 2013).
- In 2013, 1.9% of UK workers reported taking time off work due to one or more work-related health problems. The UK rate is similar to that of Italy (1.9%) and lower than many other European countries, including Spain (2.8%), France (5.4%) and Poland (7.7%) (Eurostat, EU LFS, 2013).
- European surveys reveal that the majority of UK workers are confident that their job does not put their health or safety at risk. Additionally, UK businesses are more likely to have a health and safety policy, and to follow this up with formal risk assessment, compared to other EU countries.
* The overall GB rate of fatal injuries published by HSE for 2013/14 was 0.4 per 100,000 employees; the standardised rate published by Eurostat accounts for variation in industry composition across EU countries.
Figure 1 - Standardised incidence rates (per 100,000 employees) of fatal injuries at work in GB/UK and the EU, 1999-2013 (Eurostat, ESAW, 2013)
From 2008, the rate of fatal injuries was calculated using updated industry data so the series differs slightly from this point on.
Data for UK/GB: for the years 1999-2010 rates are based on GB data only, for 2011 onwards rates are based on UK data (including Northern Ireland).