Two million people take time off for work-related illness

More than two million people – 5% of the working population – took time off for illness last year, according to a report on the extent of work-related ill health published today by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

The estimated number of working days lost to work-related illness during the 12-month period was 29.8 million.

On average, each person suffering took an estimated 22 days off work in that 12-month period.

Averaged across the working population this represents an annual loss of 1.3 days per worker.

Musculoskeletal disorders followed by stress, depression or anxiety were by far the most commonly reported type of work-related illnesses, affecting 1.1 million and 0.6 million of people respectively.

Occupations with above average work-related illness rates included:



  • protective service occupations (for example workers serving in police, fire service and prison service) with an estimated rate of around 6.5%
  • health and social welfare associate professionals (6.2%),
  • skilled construction and building trades (5.5%),
  • teaching and research professionals (5.1%)
  • skilled metal and electrical trades (4.8%)

The report can be accessed at the HSE website

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