Industrial Sectors

There follow a number of sector profiles for injuries and cases of ill health within a number of the industries we regulate. The most recent operational year for which full statistical details are available in this format is 2002/3; these profiles will be updated as more up-to-date information is made available.

Chemical production

The chemical industry in the UK is one of the longest-established in the world. It employs 230,000 highly skilled people nationwide, and accounts for 2% of Gross Domestic Product and 10% of manufacturing industry's gross value added. It invests over £2 billion annually, representing 14% of total manufacturing investment, with a further £3.5 billion being spent on R&D.

It is the UK's top manufacturing export earner, with an annual trade surplus of nearly £5 billion on sales of £33 billion, of which £29 billion was accounted for by exports, with a large proportion going to other countries in the European Union. It also provides a tax and national insurance contribution of nearly £5 billion a year to the UK national government and local authorities.

Products of the chemical industry are the basis for almost every manufacturing activity. They are to be found in the making of paints, medicines, fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, animal health products, water treatment materials, colouring agents, man-made fabrics, detergents, disinfectants, polishes and cleansers, cosmetics and toiletries.

Oil Refining and associated onshore oil-related industry

The downstream oil industry in the UK employs, directly and indirectly, more than 120,000 people, and incorporates nine crude oil refineries, 1500 miles of pipelines, and 42 storage and distribution terminals.

Amongst the products manufactured by the industry are petrol, diesel, liquid petroleum gas, jet fuel, gas oil and heating oil and bitumen. The industry also produces feedstocks for lubricants and many other petrochemicals products with applications within the wider chemical production industry.

Coatings Production

The UK paints and coatings industry employs approximately 15,000 people. Together its firms have a turnover of over £2 billion annually, including £300 million exports. The sector comprises many firms which specialise in one or more of the following areas: wallcoverings and paints, printing inks, powder coatings and products for application within the rest of manufacturing industry (eg, aircraft/ automotive industries).

Pharmaceuticals Production

Pharmaceuticals are one of Britain's leading manufacturing sectors, bringing in a trade surplus of £3.4 billion in 2004. The value of UK pharmaceutical exports in 2004 was an estimated £12.2 billion, and the industry directly employs over 73,000 people, and generates many more jobs in associated industries.

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Updated 2022-11-03