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 1998-2012. 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, 2012).
- The UK consistently has one of the lowest rates of fatal injury across the EU. In 2012 the standardised rate was 0.58 per 100,000 workers*, which compares favourably with other large economies such as France (2.64 per 100,000 workers), Germany (0.9 per 100,000 workers), Italy (1.29 per 100,000 workers) and Spain (1.99 per 100,000 workers) (Eurostat, ESAW, 2012).
- 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%) and Poland (7.7%) (Eurostat, EU LFS, 2013).
- In 2014, around 92% of UK workplaces surveyed claimed that they undertook regular health and safety risk assessments. This is more than most EU countries including Spain (90%), Germany (66%) and France (56%) but lower than Italy (95%). Additionally, three quarters of UK workplaces used internal staff to carry out their risk assessments, which was considerably higher than the EU average of just under 50% (ESENER, 2014).
* The overall GB rate of fatal injuries published by HSE for 2012/13 was 0.5 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, 1998-2012 (Eurostat)