Personal Injury

1.7 Million Workers Suffer Work-Related Illness in 2020/21

Estimated Read time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, December 16, 2021

1.7 million workers in Britain suffered from a work-related illness in the 2020/21 period.

This is according to new figures released by the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE).

Around half of the workers experiencing work-related illness suffered from stress, depression or anxiety – a total of 800,000 people.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 played a significant part in workers’ health, with 93,000 believing they contracted the virus at work.

Illness caused by work

2020/21 saw around 100,000 more people suffer a work-related illness than the previous year.

Stress, depression or anxiety was the leading cause of illness, with roughly 800,000 people experiencing these conditions.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) were the second most common form of ill health caused by work. 470,000 people suffered from an MSD in 2020/21.

45% of these disorders affected the arms or neck, while 39% affected the back.

Meanwhile, the HSE found that 12,000 people die every year as a result of lung disease linked to past workplace exposures. COPD is responsible for the most occupational lung diseases (34%).

The effect of Covid-19

With 93,000 people believing that they came down with Covid-19 after being exposed at work, the virus caused significant health problems to Britain’s workers.

But the pandemic’s impact wasn’t limited to Covid-19 infections. 645,000 people suffered from a work-related illness that was caused or made worse by the pandemic.

According to the HSE, “rapid changes in how and where people were working, changes in work intensity, and perceived job insecurity, even if working conditions did not markedly change, all have the potential to affect workers’ health in a number of ways”.

70% of the workers who had a condition other than Covid-19 caused or made worse by the pandemic experienced stress, depression or anxiety.

Around 85,000 people also suffered from musculoskeletal disorders that were caused or made worse by the pandemic.

Fatal workplace injuries

In 2020/21, a total of 142 workers were while killed at work.

The construction sector saw the highest number of fatal injuries to workers, with 39 people killed. Agriculture, forestry and fishing saw the second highest figure, at 34. Manufacturing was third, with 20 people losing their lives at work.

Falling from a height was the most common cause of fatal injury to workers. 35 people died after this kind of accident.

Being hit by a moving vehicle was responsible for 25 people dying, while 17 people lost their lives after being struck by a moving object – including things falling from above.

Health risks faced by workers

Commenting on the latest figures, the HSE’s chief executive, Sarah Albon, said: “These annual statistics are important to give us a clear picture of the health and safety risks faced by workers in the Great Britain and help to inform the measures HSE, employers, policy-makers and workers themselves need to take to ensure everyone can go home from work safe and well.”

If your health has been negatively impacted by your work – whether it’s an illness such as lung disease or an accident causing an injury – First4Lawyers could help you get the compensation you’re entitled to.

To find out how we can help you make a claim, just give us a call or start your claim online and we’ll take it from there.

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