Saturday, 30 October 2010 16:45

Work Related Health

Work Related Injury and Ill-Health in UK 2008/9 (courtesy H&SE)

Since 2005 various surveys and reporting schemes have collected reports of new cases of work-related ill health and injury from individuals, employers, General Practitioners plus many other occupational and other health practitioners. The data confirms that musculoskeletal disorders are the most common type of work-related illness, but that mental ill health gives rise to more working days lost.

Because of under-reporting these figures could be 50% low.

  • the overall incidence of work-related ill health and injury is roughly 1,500 cases per 100,000 workers.
  • 1.2 million people who worked during 2008/9 were suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work. 551 000 of these were new cases.
  • 246,000 reportable injuries occurred, a rate of 870 per 100,000 workers.
  • The figures show consistently higher figures for ill health over injuries. This may imply that protection from physical injury has been taken more seriously than other effects on the health of employees.
  • Musculo-skeletal disorders (538,000 people) and stress, depression and anxiety (415,000 people) were the most common.
  • Of 9,355 mental health cases, 37% (3,442) were from factors ‘intrinsic to the job’. This includes things like workload, time demands, pressure, travel, work schedules and shifts, organisation (no control, no support, poor role definition), responsibility, boredom, isolation.
  • 29.3 million days were lost overall,
    11.4 million from mental health problems (stress, anxiety, depression),
    9.3 million from musculo-skeletal disorders.
  • 12% of spine/back musculo-skeletal disorders are caused by keyboard related work,
    4% are related to driving.
  • The total cost to society were between 20 and 30 £B; Medical costs and benefits were between 1,500 and 2,500 £M; Lost earnings were between 3,700 and 6,300 £M
  • 1,427 cases were prosecuted under health and safety regulations with a conviction rate of about 80%.
  • The average penalty per case was £20,606. For cases against the H&SE regulations themselves (the majority) the average was £24,000. The average per breach was £14,614.


Those are the bold facts and if you want more detail without the hassle of trawling the HSE and other websites get in touch via the Contact page. I have an 8 page summary.

Behind these figures there are a million stories of course. Each statistic affects a company, a hospital or doctor and an individual. There are stories of corporate responsibility or lack of it as well as personal responsibility or lack of it.

One of next year’s stories could be you or your company.

And even if you think you are too small because you are only a few partners working together you are not immune. In these companies often the partners work ‘all hours’ to get the company afloat and to bring in the income. It is EXACTLY this circumstance that causes both physical (eg keyboard work and all that driving) and mental health stress. What would happen if one of the partners could not work because of one of these problems. Where would that leave the company?

And if you are a larger company, just work out the cost of one day’s loss of work of one of your employees. Loss of production, loss of time, cost of wages, extra management work.

Work related illness and injury is a serious concern for all business, large and small, and individuals. We all have both a personal responsibility and a business responsibility. Each person, either on his or her own or supported by the company can take action to reduce the possibility of ill-health or injury at work. Any action taken by the company could mitigate against possible prosecution and reduce the likelihood of ill-health or injury by employees and partners.

Such action could include the provision of workplace therapy such as Spineworks. This gives the workforce a good image of the company and both relaxes and revives the individual.

Seminars can also be offered to assist in physical and mental (personality) self awareness and the general management of the workplace environment.

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1 Comment

  • Comment Link Sally Thursday, 09 December 2010 12:33 posted by Sally

    Blimey. Interesting facts and figs you have there..

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