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HSE Statistics cost iconCosts to Great Britain of workplace injuries and new cases of work-related Ill Health – 2017/18

HSE statistics show that each year, over a million workers are injured or made ill by their work in Great Britain. This can have serious effects on these individuals and their families, as well as employers, government and wider society. The impacts can be measured in terms of 'human' costs (the impact on the individual’s quality of life and, for fatal injuries, loss of life), and ‘financial’ costs, such as loss of production and healthcare costs. HSE’s estimate of the total costs of workplace injuries and ill health includes both financial costs and a valuation of human costs.

The latest estimates show that annually between 2017/18 and 2019/20 an average of 610,000 workers were injured in workplace accidents and a further 559,000 workers suffered a new case of ill health which they believe to be caused or made worse by their work. The cost estimates (for 2018/2019) include only new cases of work-related ill health and self-reported injuries, and exclude pre-existing cases, to represent the costs arising from current working conditions.

Cost of workplace injury and ill health 2018/19

Injury and ill health Cost
Injury (equivalent to unit cost of £1.7 m per fatal injury, £8,800 per non-fatal injury 5600000000
Ill health (equivalent to unit cost of £19,000 per case) 10600000000

The total costs of workplace self-reported injuries and ill health in 2018/19 was £16.2 billion. Ill health causes the biggest proportion of total costs at around 66% (£10.6 billion), with injury resulting in around 34% of total costs (£5.6 billion).

Ill health contributes to a greater proportion of total costs, despite injuries accounting for a greater proportion of cases, as ill health cases result in more time off work on average, which drives higher costs.

Individuals bear the majority of costs

Individual costs make up £9.6bn, employer costs of £3.2bn and government have costs of £3.5bn

Category Individuals Employer Government
Workplace self-reported injuries 9600000000 3200000000 3500000000
  • Individual costs are £9.6 bn.
  • Costs to the employer are £3.2 bn. Costs to the Government are £3.5 bn.
  • The majority of costs fall on individuals, driven by human costs, while employers and government/taxpayers bear a similar proportion of the remaining costs of workplace injury and ill health.

Total costs fell between 2004/05 and 2009/10; broadly level since

Total costs time series falls from about £19bn in 2004/05 to £15.5bn in 2010/11. And stays between £15 bn and £16.2 bn since

Year Annual Total Cost Lower Bound Upper Bound
2004/05 1931000000 1830600000 2031500000
2005/06 1886142500 1787550150 1984855850
2006/07 1855015110 1756477260 1953648740
2007/08 1818252820 1719786080 1916823920
2008/09 1716200590 1618362270 1814159730
2009/10 1607528990 1509260110 1705965890
2010/11 1576053700 1478473310 1673820690
2011/12 0 1473197500 1668975500
2012/13 1565920370 1467921690 1664130310
2013/14 1570932490 1474675020 1667414980
2014/15 1566763320 1469645570 1664070430
2015/16 1614900410 1514710220 1715331780
2016/17 1591336660 1489827570 1693086420
2017/18 1549550750 1446421340 1652852660
2018/19 1622756540 1508961250 1736722750

Total costs fell by approximately 17% between 2004/05 and 2009/10, driven by a reduction in the number of workplace injuries. Since then, total annual costs have been broadly level.

Ill health costs have been broadly level over the period.

Updated 2019-10-22