Introduction to data sources
The Figure below shows the main data sources used for injury & ill health statistics, and an indication of the severity range that each source includes. An introduction to these sources is found below the Figure, and a full description of these, plus details of additional data sources (for example economic costs of workplace injuries and ill health, management of health and safety in the workplace, enforcement activity and employment) is available via the detailed description of data sources.
Each of the sources has strengths and weaknesses; this is explained in the full description (see the link above). Details about preferred data sources for illness and injury are also available.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (as amended), under which fatal and defined non-fatal injuries to workers and members of the public are reported by employers.
Certain types of work-related injury are not reportable under RIDDOR, hence excluded from these figures. Exclusions include most fatalities and injuries to the armed forces, and most injuries from work-related road collisions.
Key changes to the reporting system and legal requirements have occurred in recent years, with some impact on the resulting statistics:
- October 2013: legislative changes were introduced to simplify the reporting of workplace injuries. One key change was the introduction of 'specified injuries', which replaced the previous 'major injury' category.
- April 2012: a legislative change introduced the requirement to report injuries to workers that lead to absence from work or inability to do their usual job, for over seven days (over-7-day injuries). This replaced the previous 'over-3-day' legal requirement.
- September 2011: the notification system used by employers changed to a predominately online system.
The Labour Force Survey (LFS)
The LFS is a national survey run by the Office for National Statistics of currently around 37,000 households each quarter. HSE commissions annual questions in the LFS to gain a view of work-related illness and workplace injury based on individuals' perceptions. The analysis and interpretation of these data are the sole responsibility of HSE. The LFS's technical notes provide more details.
Self-reported work-related illness
People who have conditions which they think have been caused or made worse by their current or past work, as estimated from the LFS. Total cases (prevalence) includes long-standing as well as new (incidence) cases. New cases consist of those who first became aware of their illness in the last 12 months. Estimates are based on the most serious work-related illness, as defined by the individual, if they have more than one. HSE has collected data on ill health through the LFS, periodically since 1990 and annually from 2001/02, with the exception of 2002/03 and 2012/13 when no ill health data was collected.
Workplace injuries sustained as a result of a non-road traffic accident in the last 12 months, as estimated by the LFS. Over-3-day and over-7-day absence injuries include all those with more than three and more than seven consecutive (working and non-working) days away from work (not counting the day on which the accident happened). Estimates are based on the most recent workplace injury, if the individual has more than one. HSE has collected data on injuries through the LFS in 1990 and annually since 1993/94.
Working days lost
Days off work due to workplace injuries and work-related ill health. The figures are expressed as full-day equivalents, to allow for variation in daily hours worked, and are available for 2000/01 (injuries), 2001/02 (ill health), and annually (for both injuries and ill health) from 2003/04, with the exception of 2012/13 for ill health when no ill health data was collected and 2020/21 when the data collection was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Reports of ill health by doctors and specialist physicians (THOR GP)
Reports of work-related ill health are gathered in surveillance schemes run by The Health and Occupation Reporting network (THOR); statistical tables covering patients seen by specialists are available annually from the early 1990s for work-related respiratory disorders and skin disease. In THOR-GP (since 2005), general practitioners are asked to report new cases of work-related ill health.
Ill health assessed for disablement benefit (IIDB)
New cases of specified 'prescribed diseases' (with an established occupational cause) assessed for compensation under the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit scheme. IIDB statistics are available annually from 2003, although earlier historical data is available.
Death Certificates (DC)
Includes deaths from some types of occupational lung disease, including asbestos-related diseases, mesothelioma and asbestosis.