Executive Summary: HSE Report on Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing in Great Britain, 2022
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released its report on the health and safety conditions in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors in Great Britain for the year 2022. This article provides a concise summary of the key findings and critical statistics presented in the report. Please note that these statistics include the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Data up to March 2022, published by HSE 23 November 2022)
1. Estimated 12,000 cases of work-related ill health annually in the sector
According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), estimated annual average 2019/20-2021/22, 12,000 workers have been suffering from work-related illnesses per year. This trend, however, has not shown a significant change even after accounting for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. A downward trend in fatal injuries at work
Based on the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) records, 22 fatal injuries occurred amongst workers in these sectors in the year 2021/22, a reduction from the annual average of 28 fatalities for 2017/18-2021/22.
3. 11,000 Workers suffered non-fatal injuries in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector
As per the LFS estimates, approximately 11,000 workers suffer non-fatal injuries at work each year. Like the incident rate of work-related illnesses, non-fatal injury rates have not shown a significant change over recent years.
4. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing accounts for 1% of the workforce
The agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry employs 1% of the overall workforce in Great Britain, according to the Annual Population Survey, 2021.
5. 49% of work-related ill health cases in Agriculture and Forestry are musculoskeletal disorders
As indicated by the LFS, nearly half of the reported health issues amongst workers in these sectors are musculoskeletal disorders.
6. Work-related ill health cases affect 4.1% of the sector's workers
Data from the LFS suggests that 4.1% of workers in the sector suffered from work-related ill health. This proportion is statistically similar to the rate amongst workers across all other industries, which stands at 4.0%.
7. The rate of work-related musculoskeletal disorders stands at 2.0%
Based on LFS estimates, about 2.0% of workers in this sector suffer from work-related musculoskeletal disorders, which is significantly higher compared to the 1.1% rate across all industries.
8. The fatal injury rate is approximately 21 times the all-industry rate
According to RIDDOR, the fatal injury rate within the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector (8.61 per 100,000 workers) is around 21 times higher than the all-industry rate.
9. 4.1% of workers in the sector sustained a non-fatal injury
As per LFS data, around 4.1% of workers in these sectors sustain a non-fatal injury each year and is significantly higher than that for workers across all industries (1.6%).
10. Economic cost of workplace injury and ill health estimated between £100M and £373M
The HSE Costs to Britain Model estimates the total economic cost of workplace injury in this sector for 2019/20 to be between £94M and £279M while work-related ill health costs are estimated to stand between £6M and £94M. Collectively, this sector's cost accounts for 1% of the total cost of all work-related ill health and injury, estimated at £18.7 billion.
In conclusion, while the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries account for a relatively small proportion of Great Britain's workforce, the sectors present higher rates of health issues, particularly musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. Additionally, the sector experiences a significantly elevated fatal injury rate. Efforts must continue to minimise these rates and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all workers in these sectors.