The number of work-related deaths, injuries and instances of ill health fell slightly in Britain in the past financial year, but, conversely, the number of working days lost to illness and injury rose, according to latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The provisional statistics showed that between April 2011 and March 2012, 22,433 major injuries – such as amputations, fractures and burns – to employees were reported, a rate of 89.9 injuries per 100,000 workers, against 24,944 in 2010/11. The average for the past five years is 27,170, it added.
A total of 88,731 other injuries serious enough to keep people off work for four or more days were reported, a rate of 355.5 injuries per 100,000 employees, which was down from 91,742 the previous year. The average for the past five years is 103,627.
An estimated 1.1 million people said they were suffering from an illness caused or made worse by their work, down from 1.2 million in 2010/11.
Of these, 452,000 were new illnesses occurring in the year covered by the research. The average for the past five years was 1.25 million, with an average 554,000 new cases per year, said the HSE.
A total of 173 workers were fatally injured, down from 175 the previous year. The average for the past five years has been 196 worker deaths per year.
In terms of industry breakdown, construction (171.8 major injuries per 100,000 employees), agriculture (241 major injuries per 100,000 employees) and waste and recycling (397.6 major injuries per 100,000 employees) remained the country’s accident black spots.
The HSE said the toll of injury and ill health resulted in 27 million working days being lost in 2011/12, an average of 16.8 days per case, with 22.7 million days lost to ill health and 4.3 million days lost to injuries. These figures are up slightly on 2010/11, when 26.4 million working days were lost.
Workplace injuries and ill health – excluding cases of work-related cancer – cost society an estimated £13.4 billion in 2010/11, it added.