Personal Injury

How many working days are lost to accidents at work?

Estimated read time: 4 mins

Carrie Tennick, August 24, 2020

For most of us, work isn’t supposed to be dangerous. The majority of us will go to work, do our jobs, go home and repeat that the next working day.

But that isn’t the case for all of us. There are occasions when something unexpected might happen and someone gets hurt.

Accidents at work can lead to serious injuries and illnesses, meaning that people can’t go to work. This then has an impact on individuals’ finances and can affect the business they work for and the wider economy.

Fatal workplace accidents

Workplace accidents range from the very minor – such as bruises and scratches from walking into desks – to the most extreme. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found that in 2019/20, accidents at work killed 111 workers in Britain.

The most dangerous industry that year was construction. A total of 40 workers lost their lives in construction site accidents. Agriculture, forestry and fishing saw 20 workers killed on the job, while 15 people died while working in manufacturing.

Falling from a height was the biggest danger to workers, killing 29 people. Being hit by a moving vehicle killed a further 20 people and being struck by a moving object, including something falling, killed 18 workers.

How many workers suffer injuries?

When it comes to non-fatal workplace injuries, unsurprisingly a huge amount more people have been affected. In 2018/19, the HSE reported that 1.4 million people suffered from a work-related illness, while 581,000 people suffered an injury at work.

Meanwhile, 69,208 employee injuries were reported under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).

Of those workers who reported their own injuries, 138,000 were absent from work for over seven days. A further 443,000 were off work for up to seven days.

The most common accident reported under RIDDOR was a slip, trip or fall on the same level. This affected 29% of the workers whose injuries were reported. Manual handling injuries were the second most common accident type, causing 20% of people to need time off work. Being struck by a moving object resulted in injuries to 10% of employees whose injuries were reported under RIDDOR.

How many working days are lost to accidents at work?

The HSE reported that an estimated 28.2 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace accidents in 2018/19. Most of these days were lost to work-related ill health, at 23.5 million. The remaining 4.7 million were lost to workplace injuries.

Stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 12.8 million days lost, while musculoskeletal disorders made up 6.9 million.

It was also found that on average, each injured or ill employee took 15.1 days off work. But there were variations for the specific injury or illness. For example, people who had suffered injuries at work took 8.1 days off work, while those suffering from musculoskeletal disorders took 13.8 days, and employees dealing with cases of ill health took an average of 17.3 days off.

Workers suffering from stress, depression or anxiety took the highest number of days off work, at an average of 21.2.

What does this cost the economy?

The economy has taken a huge hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Expert analysts predict that it will take years to recover after the coronavirus caused the country to lockdown and the economy to virtually stop overnight. When it does recover, businesses won’t be able to afford the drops in productivity that come with working days lost through injury and illness.

A 2019 survey by VitalityHealth, RAND Europe, Mercer and the University of Cambridge found that health-related lost productivity cost the UK’s economy roughly £91 billion. This is not a figure that economists and government ministers will want to see replicated this year as the country tries to get back on its feet.

As a result, we could expect to see businesses prioritising health and safety measures to protect workers and prevent them needing to take extended periods off work.

What to do after an injury at work

If your employer has not been fulfilling its obligations to keep you and your colleagues as safe as possible, you could be able to take action. You could be able to make an accident at work claim for compensation.

This can help to provide you with the necessary funds you might need to recover from your injury. It can also help to prevent it happening to someone else by ensuring that your employer knows what went wrong, giving them the chance to fix the problem.

To find out more about making an accident at work and how First4Lawyers can help you do so, just give us a call, request a call back at the tope of your screen or start your claim online.

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