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 1998-2011. 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, 2011).
- The UK consistently has one of the lowest rates of fatal injury across the EU. In 2011 the standardised rate was 0.74 per 100 000 workers*, which compares favourably with other large economies such as France (2.74 per 100 000 workers), Germany (0.94 per 100 000 workers), Italy (1.5 per 100 000 workers) and Spain (2.16 per 100 000 workers) (Eurostat, ESAW, 2011).
- In 2007, 1.8% of UK workers reported an injury occurring at work that resulted in sick leave. Compared to other large economies, this was similar to Germany (1.9%), lower than Italy (2.3%), Spain (3.1%) and the EU-27 average (2.2%), and higher than Poland (1.0%) (Eurostat, EU LFS, 2007).
- In 2007, 2.9% of UK workers reported a work-related illness resulting in sick leave. This is lower than Germany (3.9%), Spain (4.2%), Poland (11.8%) and the overall EU-27 rate (5.5%) (Eurostat, EU LFS, 2007).
*The overall GB rate of fatal injuries published by HSE for 2011/12 was 0.58 per 100 000 workers; the standardised rate published by Eurostat accounts for variation in industry composition across EU countries.
Standardised incidence rates (per 100 000 workers) of fatal injuries at work in GB/UK and the EU, 1998-2011 (Eurostat)
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 1998-2010 rates are based on GB data only, for 2011 rates are based on UK data (including Northern Ireland).