Comparability of LFS data over time

There is a broadly consistent time series, with the exception of 2019/20-21/22, for:

  • workplace injury from 2000/01;
  • work-related illness from 2001/02;
  • working days lost due to workplace injury from 2000/01 and due to work-related illness from 2001/02.

Whilst the small change in survey period from December-February for years prior to 2006/07 to January-March from 2006/07 onwards may have potentially introduced a discontinuity to these data series, investigations suggested that this change in survey design has not affected the top level injury, ill health and working days lost data.

The 2020/21 data and to a lesser extent 2021/22 are affected by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. While 2019/20 falls largely outside of the pandemic period, disruption to data collection processes in early 2020 may be a contributory factor to changes in data in 2019/20. This should be considered when comparing across time periods. For more details see our reports on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on health and safety statistics

The above surveys had the same design and coverage (with the exception of the small change in survey time period in 2006/07) and used the same methods to adjust for non-response to the screening questions in each survey.

It is only possible to make broad comparisons with the earlier surveys, and even these need to be treated with caution. This is due to the differences in:

  • design;
  • coverage;
  • level of information collected;
  • methods used to adjust for non-response to the screening question in each survey;
  • use of pre-2001 census population weights (the 2001 Census showed that the UK population was around 1 million lower than previously estimated).

To achieve even these broad based comparisons for illness data, a number of adjustments have to be made to the data to ensure comparability.

Is this page useful?

Updated 2022-11-18