Beta This is a new way of showing guidance - your feedback will help us improve it.

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 2016/17 and 2018/19 an average of 582,000 workers were injured in workplace accidents and a further 518,000 workers suffered a new case of ill health which they believe to be caused or made worse by their work.   The cost estimates (for 2017/2018) 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.

Total costs were £15.0bn in 2017/18

Estimating the economic costs of these cases-£14.3 bn- cost of workplace injury and illness

The total costs of workplace self-reported injuries and ill health in 2017/18 was £15.0 billion. Ill health causes the biggest proportion of total costs at around 65% (£9.8 billion), with injury resulting in around 35% of total costs (£5.2 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 £8.2bn, employer costs of £2.8bn and government have costs of £3.4bn

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

Estimating the economic costs of these cases-£14.3 bn- cost of workplace injury and illness

Sources for above charts: HSE Costs to Britain model

Total costs fell by approximately 17% in the first half of the series, 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 whole series.


  1. Source: Labour Force Survey (non-fatal injuries) and RIDDOR (fatal injuries), annual average estimate 2016/17 - 2018/19
Updated 2019-10-22