Historical picture: trends in work-related ill health and workplace injury in Great Britain
In recent decades there have been large reductions in both fatal and non-fatal workplace injuries. However, the picture for ill health is mixed.
Over the long-term the number of fatal injuries to employees has substantially reduced. There has also been a large reduction in non-fatal injuries. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic the rate of self-reported non-fatal injury to workers showed a generally downward trend and the current rate is similar to the 2018/19 pre-coronavirus level. Likewise for RIDDOR reported injuries, prior to the coronavirus pandemic the rate of non-fatal injury to employees reported by employers showed a downward trend and the current rate is below the 2018/19 pre-coronavirus level.
The rate of total self-reported work-related ill health (including both new and long-standing cases) has declined from the level seen in the 1990s, but in the recent years prior to the coronavirus pandemic had been broadly flat. The rate of self-reported work-related musculoskeletal disorders has similarly reduced since the 1990s, though continued to show a generally downward trend in the recent years prior to the pandemic. In contrast, the rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety had shown signs of increasing in the recent years prior to the coronavirus pandemic, having been broadly flat since around 1998/99.
The rate of total self-reported work-related illness was higher in 2022/23 than the 2018/19 pre-coronavirus level, driven by a higher rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety. For self-reported work-related musculoskeletal disorders, the rate in 2022/23 was similar to the 2018/19 pre-coronavirus level.
Annual mesothelioma deaths have remained broadly level over the last 10 years following a sustained increase over earlier decades since 1970, largely due to past exposures. Numbers are expected to decline during the 2020s.
Supporting data tables
- for self-reported work-related illness in England and Wales,
covering Labour Force Surveys for the years 1990, 1995 and
1998/99, see LFSILLHIST;
- for self-reported work-related illness in Great Britain, see LFSILLTYP;
- for death certificates mentioning mesothelioma in Great
Britain, see MESO01;
- for self-reported non-fatal workplace injuries in Great Britain, see LFSINJSUM;
- for employer-reported fatal and non-fatal injuries in Great Britain, see RIDHIST;
Working days lost
- for working days lost due to work-related illness and non-fatal workplace injury in Great Britain, see LFSWDL.