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The Costs to Britain of Workplace Accidents, Injuries and Ill-Health: HSE Report Summary

The HSE Report for 2021/22 shows that workplace injuries and illnesses in Britain cost £20.7 billion annually, impacting over a million workers. Ill health cases constitute £13.1 billion and injuries £7.7 billion of these costs, with the majority borne by individuals. The pandemic contributed to a 10% increase in costs. Government expenses, including benefits, lost taxes, and NHS treatments, totalled £4.6 billion. With 606,000 workers injured and 124 fatalities per year, the report highlights the critical need for improved health and safety measures in workplaces.

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An Executive Summary of the HSE Report: Costs to Britain of Workplace Fatalities and Self-reported Injuries and Ill Health, 2021/22

Published in November 2023, this report presents the latest estimates of costs to Britain resulting from workplace injuries and work-related ill-health for the fiscal year 2021/22. In this executive summary, we aim to distill the main facts and statistics from the extensive report into a digestible format for our readers.

1. Over a million workers are injured or made ill by their work in Great Britain annually

Statistic from the HSE shows that every year, more than a million workers in Britain are injured or get sick due to their workplaces. This not only impacts the individuals and their families, but also has significant consequences for employers, government, and wider society.

There’s a substantial human cost in terms of decreased quality of life, along with financial costs like revenue loss and medical expenses (Source: HSE Report Page 4).

2. Total Costs to Britain were around £20.7 billion in 2021/22

The total costs of self-reported workplace-related injuries and ill health in 2021/22 was £20.7 billion. Of these, ill health cases accounted for approximately 63% (£13.1 billion) while injury cases made up 37% (£7.7 billion) (Source: HSE Costs to Britain model Page 4).

3. Majority of the £20.7 billion costs fall on individuals

The majority of costs fall on individuals (£12.2bn), driven by human costs (£11.6bn), while employers and government bear a similar proportion of the remaining costs of workplace injury and ill health (Source: HSE Costs to Britain model Page 5).

4. Costs have been increasing since the pandemic began

The total costs in 2021/22 represent an increase of around £1.9 billion (a 10% increase) compared with 2019/20, indicating the influence of the pandemic (Source: HSE Costs to Britain model Page 5).

5. The costs to government of occupational injury and illness were around £4.6 billion

The cost to government in benefits payments is about £2.61 billion, with further costs of £1.12 billion in lost taxes. NHS treatment costs account for an additional £0.95 billion (Source: HSE Costs to Britain model Page 6).

6. On an average, 606,000 workers were injured annually at workplaces

Bassd on the annual averages from 2019/20 to 2022/23, each year around 606,000 workers were injured in workplace accidents (Source: Labour Force Survey Page 8).

7. There were 124 average annual workplace injury fatalities and 677,000 new cases of work-related ill health each year

The same period also witnessed an average annual workplace injury fatality of 124, and 677,000 new cases of work-related ill health every year (Source: Labour Force Survey and RIDDOR Page 8).

8. The total cost of fatal injuries was around £0.2 billion in 2021/22

According to the HSE Cost to Britain model, fatal workplace injuries cost society around £0.2 billion in the reported year (Source: HSE Costs to Britain model Page 17).

9. The total ill health cost in 2021/22 was approximately £13.1 billion

Work-related ill health cases resulted in societal costs of around £13.1 billion, while workplace non-fatal injuries cost £7.7 billion (Source: HSE Costs to Britain model Page 17).

10. The estimate of total costs in 2021/22 (£20.7bn) increased around £1.9 billion compared with 2019/20

The costs related to workplace injuries and illnesses have been rising since the pandemic began. Prior to the pandemic, the estimates of total costs had shown little variation since 2009/10 (Source: HSE Costs to Britain Model Page 18).


In conclusion, the report underscores the significant cost burden of workplace injuries and ill-health to individuals, employers, the government, and the society at large, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposing robust, responsive, and effective health and safety interventions at the workplace could be significant in lessening the number of injuries and illnesses, thus reducing the tremendous costs to Britain.


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Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.

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