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Executive Summary of HSE Asbestos-Related Disease Statistics Report in Great Britain 2023

The 2023 HSE Report highlights the grave impact of asbestos in Great Britain: over 5,000 annual deaths from asbestos-related diseases, including 2,268 mesothelioma deaths and 537 asbestosis cases in 2021. Additionally, asbestos contributes to about 2,500 lung cancer deaths yearly. Regionally, the North East experienced the highest asbestosis death rate. In 2022, there were 1,755 new mesothelioma cases and 375 cases of non-malignant pleural disease reported for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. The report underscores the critical need for stringent asbestos control measures.

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Executive Summary of the HSE Asbestos-Related Disease Statistics Report in Great Britain 2023

This blog article provides an executive summary drawn from the 2023 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report on asbestos-related disease statistics in Great Britain. The report comprises significant facts and figures relating to asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer.

1. Over 5,000 Asbestos-related Disease Deaths Per Year

The HSE report notes that there are over 5,000 fatalities each year currently from asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. These diseases typically take many years to develop and reflect the legacy of past working conditions where asbestos was widely used, particularly in the post-WWII building industry.

2. 2,268 Mesothelioma Deaths in 2021

The HSE report marked 2,268 mesothelioma deaths in 2021 in Great Britain, which is a fall from 2,570 deaths recorded in 2020. The majority of annual mesothelioma deaths occur in those aged over 75 years and the disease is almost always fatal.

3. 537 Deaths in 2021 Mentioning Asbestosis on the Death Certificate

According to the report, asbestosis was mentioned on the death certificate in 537 cases in 2021. This figure excludes deaths where mesothelioma was also mentioned on the certificate. This number indicates a substantial increase from around 100 per year in the late 1970s.

4. Around 2,500 Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer Deaths Each Year

Asbestos is one of the most common causes of lung cancer after tobacco smoking. Based on epidemiological studies, around 2,500 lung cancer deaths per year can be attributed to past asbestos exposure.

5. 8 Asbestosis-related Larynx Cancer Cases and 3 Deaths in 2021

According to the data from 2017-2021, past asbestos exposure resulted in 8 new asbestosis-related larynx cancer cases and 3 deaths annually. This emphasizes the substantial risk posed by asbestos and its long-term impact on health.

6. 38 Asbestos-related Stomach Cancer Cases and 24 Deaths in 2021

In addition to larynx cancer, asbestos is also associated with other cancers. In the same data period, 38 cases and 24 deaths were attributed annually to asbestos-related stomach cancer.

7. A Peak of 48.2 Asbestosis Deaths per Million in the North East

The highest rate of asbestosis death, at a peak of 48.2 per million, occurred in the North East region in the period 2010-2012. Thus, clearly showing regional variations. This has however fallen to 26.3 per million in 2019-2021.

8. 1,755 New Cases of Mesothelioma Assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) in 2022

Over the course of 2022, 1,755 new cases of mesothelioma were assessed for IIDB, of which 250 were female. This indicates a decrease from 1,920 new cases in 2021, of which 325 were female.

9. 375 New Cases of Non-Malignant Pleural Disease Assessed for IIDB in 2022

In 2022, there were 375 new cases of non-malignant pleural disease assessed under the IIDB scheme, compared with 460 in 2021 and 185 in 2020. This disease includes diffuse pleural thickening and pleural plaques which continue to occur due to workplace asbestos exposure decades ago.

10. 160 New Cases of Asbestosis Reported by Chest Physicians in 2019

The THOR scheme reported 160 new cases of asbestosis in 2019. However, reporting during 2020, 2021, and 2022 was disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, with only 82 cases being reported in 2022. Asbestosis has a substantial burden on health, often severely impacting normal daily activities and even leading to further complications.


The HSE report provides a comprehensive look at data related to asbestos-related diseases in the UK, presenting the stark facts about the prevalence and impact of these diseases on public health. This summary stresses the importance of continuous and stringent measures to control exposure to asbestos and highlights the need for sustained efforts to mitigate its hazard.


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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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