Self-reported ill health accounted for 33 million lost working days in
2001/2, with 2.3 million people calling in sick, according to the latest
statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Its Occupational Health Statistics Bulletin 2002/3 found that men took more
time off work than woman, and had a higher prevalence rate of sickness. The
prevalence rate and days lost per worker generally increased with age, again
particularly among men.
Lower managerial and professional workers had the highest prevalence number
and rates of sickness absence.
Those occupations with the highest overall self-reported prevalence rates
included the protective services (the police), professions associated with
health and social welfare, skilled construction and building, and teaching and
Figures collated between 2000 and 2002 also showed relatively high incidence
rates for occupations exposed to particular agents or risks. These included
bakers and metal plate workers, while research revealed high mesothelioma
mortality for occupations with substantial past exposure to asbestos.
People working in public administration and defence, education and health
and social work showed high overall self-reported prevalence rates in both
2001/2 and the previous study in 1998/9.
Agriculture, construction, extraction and utility supply and manufacturing
sectors had high rates for particular types of work-related illness.
Estimated incidence levels of occupational asthma and contact dermatitis had
not changed much in recent years, although the data for asthma indicated a
possible decrease in the past three years.