HSE figures reveal changing profile of workplace ill health

Levels of work-related ill health are rising in the UK, even though fatalities and injuries are decreasing, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

Its latest statistics calculated that an estimated 1.3 million people said they were suffering from an illness caused or made worse by their work between April 2009 and March 2010. The figure is up from 1.2 million in the 2008/09 period, with 555,000 new illnesses occurring year-on-year.

The UK had the lowest rate of fatal occupational injuries in Europe, the report added, and one of the lowest levels of work-related ill health. There were 152 workers fatally injured – down from 179 the previous year – the lowest level on record.

There were 26,061 major injuries, such as amputations and burns, and 95,369 injuries serious enough to keep people off work for three or more days, down from 105,261 the previous year, it added.

But the figures also showed a sharp rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured on UK farms. The number of reported major injuries on farms, such as broken bones or amputations, rose to 640, up from 599 the previous year, with the number of major injuries increasing by more than 40% in the past three years.

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