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HSE figures show Britain losing £14billion a year to work related ill health and injury

View profile for Deborah Foundling
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Recently released statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that work related injuries and ill health are costing the economy £14billion a year, despite Britain being one of the safest places to work in Europe. Deborah Foundling, Industrial Disease specialist Personal Injury Lawyer, here reviews the statistics and urges employers to consider their health and safety practices in the workplace.

“This £14billion translates to 27.3 million working days being lost in 2014/15 with 23.3 million due to work-related illness,” begins Deborah. “This equates to 1.2 million people, an exceptionally high figure, especially when you also consider that 516,000 of these were new cases in that 12 month period. When we talk about work-related illnesses, this includes cancers and diseases such as mesothelioma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, as well as conditions such as muscular skeletal disorders and stress, which may be prevalent in the health and social care industry.”

It is estimated that there are approximately 13,000 deaths each year from a work-related disease or cancer. “In 2013, 2,538 died from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining,” continues Deborah. “In 2014 there were 2,215 new cases of mesothelioma assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) compared to 2,145 in 2013. As cancers such as mesothelioma take many years to develop, it’s sadly predicted that there will be approximately 2,500 deaths a year until 2020 before we start to see a decline in annual figures.”

Certain industries are likely to be more susceptible to exposure to asbestos, the leading cause of mesothelioma. “Asbestos was a very popular material to use in building, construction and in ports and harbours in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s becoming more common for cases of asbestos-related illnesses to develop in teachers due to asbestos being in schools during that period”, explains Deborah. “Other materials that can be hazardous include silica, coal dust, diesel engine exhaust fumes and mineral oils.”

Of the 27.3 million working days lost, 4.1 million were due to an injury at work. “In total there were 611,000 injuries in the workplace in 2014/15, with 152,000 of those leading to more than 7 days needing to be taken off work,” continues Deborah. “Devastatingly there were 142 workers killed due to an accident at work. Non-fatal injuries were mainly caused by slips and trips, lifting or carrying, or being struck by moving objects. Unsurprisingly, it’s those working in construction, agriculture and waste who are most likely to suffer from these types of accidents.”

Deborah concludes, “While these figures show an approximate 18% decline in the cost to Britain year on year, no-one should be at risk at work. These figures represent those people and their families who have been devastated by an injury or illness, and potentially lost a loved one due to them simply earning a living. That’s why it’s important for all employers to take note of these findings and remember that they have a responsibility towards their employees to keep them safe at work.”

You can find out more information about the report from the HSE on their website here, or to find out how the Personal Injury team could help support you following an accident or ill health diagnosis, contact Deborah or the team on 0800 91 92 30 or visit their section of the website here.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.