The Self-reported Work-related Illness (SWI) and Workplace Injury modules of the LFS
Respondents are asked to recall events over the previous 12 months, and so results reflect an average of the previous 12 month period. For example, respondents administered the questions in the LFS quarter one in 2008 (January 2008-March 2008) cover the 12 months prior to each interview. The results reflect an average of 12-month periods ending January 2008 to March 2008, and this is described as 2007/08.
Each questionnaire module has a core set of questions with a small number of additional questions asked periodically. Whilst information is collected from Northern Ireland, this information is not routinely published since HSE's jurisdiction is restricted to Great Britain only.
The Workplace Injury Module of the LFS
The module of questions on workplace injury [see Annex 1] is administered to individuals aged 16 or over who are currently employed or who have been employed in the previous year. There is a core set of questions asked annually, with additional questions included periodically.
Individuals are asked an initial screening question:
Thinking of the 12 months since [date], have you had any accident resulting in injury at work or in the course of your work?
Individuals responding positively to the screening question are then asked whether or not the (most recent) injury resulted from a road accident, and also to confirm whether the injury occurred in their current or most recent job (details of which are recorded as part of the main LFS questioning) or in another job. The respondent is then asked how soon they returned to work following the accident and (from 2006/07) to describe the injury received. Individuals reporting either 'fractured or broken bones' or 'dislocated joints' are further asked to recall which bone/joint was fractured/dislocated. Respondents are asked (from 2006/07) whether they experienced loss of consciousness or hypothermia as a result of the accident and whether they required resuscitation or hospitalisation. Finally respondents are asked to describe how the accident happened (in 2004/05 and from 2006/07).
Respondents were asked some additional questions in certain years: in 2006/07, how many workplace accidents they had sustained over the 12 month period; in 2008/09-2010/11, the year and month of the accident and in 2006/07-2007/08 respondents reporting loss of sight were asked how long they were affected by the sight impairment and respondents who lost consciousness were asked for how long.
On average, it takes a respondent reporting a workplace injury around three minutes to complete the injury core questions.
The Self-reported Work-related Illness survey module of the LFS
Since 2001/02 this module of questions on work-related ill health [see Annex 2] has been administered to individuals aged 16 or over who were currently employed or who had been employed in the past. However, in 2007/08 and 2008/09 a questionnaire routing error restricted the coverage of this survey module to people working in the last 12 months rather than people ever employed (as in earlier surveys). Generally all published estimates are restricted to people working in the last 12 months for comparison purposes.
Like the workplace injury survey module, this survey module consists of a core set of questions asked annually, with additional questions asked periodically.
Individuals are asked an initial screening question:
[Apart from the accident you have told me about,] within the last 12 months have you suffered from any illness, disability or other physical or mental problem that was caused or made worse by your job or by work you have done in the past?
Individuals responding positively to this screening question are then asked how many work-related illnesses they had suffered from, and to describe the most serious. Subsequent questions focus on the most serious illness, asking respondents when they first became aware of their illness and also to confirm whether their current or most recent job (details of which are recorded as part of the main LFS questioning) or another job caused or made their complaint worse. Respondents who had worked in the past 12 months are also asked how much time they had taken off work (in the last 12 months) because of their illness.
In alternate years (from 2004/05 to 2010/11), respondents who reported 'another job' caused or made their illness worse were asked to describe the job and industry in which they worked, and in 2009/10-2011/12 respondents reporting certain illnesses were asked to describe how work caused the illness or made it worse.
Respondents were asked some additional questions in 2020/21 and 2021/22 to measure the impact of coronavirus on self-reported work-related ill health, and therefore to better understand work-related ill health in 2020/21 and 2021/22 in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
On average, it takes a respondent reporting a work-related illness around one and a half minutes to complete the ill health core questions.
Linking information from the Self-reported Work-related Illness (SWI) and Workplace Injury modules of the LFS with information in the main LFS
The LFS provides a rich source of information about the labour force using internationally agreed concepts and definitions. It collects data on demographics, employment, self-employment, hours of work, unemployment, redundancies, education and training and many other topics. Information provided by an individual on the Self-reported Work-related Illness (SWI) and Workplace Injury modules of the LFS can be matched with their corresponding labour force information to provide a comprehensive picture of workplace injury and work-related illness by a range of factors.
For the latest full LFS questionnaire see The LFS User Guide Volume 2: Questionnaire.