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HSE Workplace incident figures

Published on 11 January 2022 | Modified on 6 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett

The stats are in – workplace incident figures have been released for 2020/2021


The HSE has released their statistics for Great Britain for 2020/2021 which are as follows;

  • 1.7 million working people suffering from a work-related illness, of which
    • 822,000 workers suffering work-related stress, depression or anxiety
    • 470,000 workers suffering from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder
    • 93,000 workers suffering from COVID-19 which they believe may have been from exposure to coronavirus at work
  • 2,369 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2019)
  • 142 workers were killed at work
  • 441,000 working people sustained an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey
  • 51,211 injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR


The construction industry saw the biggest number of musculoskeletal injuries as a result of work.

Generally across all sectors the types of injury are broken down as follows;

  • 45% Upper limbs or neck
  • 16% Lower limbs
  • 39% Back

With regards to occupational lung disease 12,000 lung disease deaths each year are estimated to be linked to past exposure at work.  This is further broken down as;

  • 20% Mesothelioma
  • 20% asbestos related lung cancer
  • 23% non asbestos related lung cancer
  • 34% COPD

In addition there were an estimated 17,000 new cases of breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work each year on average over the last 3 years according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey.

With regards to other types of accident at work they are given as below;

  • Slips, trips or falls on same level 33%
  • Handling, lifting or carrying 18%
  • Struck by moving object 10%
  • Acts of violence 8%
  • Falls from a height 10%

The most dangerous occupations with above average levels of workplace injury are confirmed as agriculture (including forestry and fishing), construction, accommodation, the food and service industries, wholesale retail/trade and repair of motor vehicles industries.

Should you be unfortunate to suffer an accident at work or develop an illness due to exposure to a chemical or allergen at work, please feel free to contact our Personal Injury team who have over 30 years’ experience of helping people recover compensation on 01270 762325 or We are happy to help.

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