The estimated number of workers in Great Britain suffering a work-related illness is 1.8 million with stress, depression, and anxiety making up around half of cases, new figures show.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today (Wednesday November 23) published its annual statistics on work-related ill health and workplace injuries.
The figures from Great Britain’s workplace regulator show there were an estimated 914,000 cases of work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2021/22.
An estimated 17 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2021/22. This is over half of all working days lost due to work-related ill health.
HSE has been warning of a growing crisis in stress and poor mental health related to work. The workplace regulator launched a major campaign last year to remind employers of their responsibilities to their employees’ mental health.
HSE’s Chief Executive, Sarah Albon, said: “Stress and poor mental health is the number one cause of work-related ill health. The effects of stress, depression, and anxiety can have a significant impact on an employee’s life and on their ability to perform their best at work.
“Britain is one of the safest places in the world to work but we need all employers to do more and take seriously their responsibilities to support good mental health at work. That’s why improving mental health in the workplace is a key priority in our 10-year strategy ‘Protecting People and Places’, and why we’re developing new partnerships across industry to help employers support their employees.”
HSE’s annual statistics release shows the impact work-related ill health is having on Great Britain’s economic performance:
- 36.8 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries in 2021/22.
- The annual economic cost of work-related injury and new cases of ill health (excluding long latency illnesses such as cancer) was £18.8 billion in 2019/20.
The figures also show that 123 workers were killed in work-related accidents in 2021/22 and a further 565,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact on the workplace. Of the 1.8 million suffering a work-related illness, an estimated 585,000 reported it was caused or made worse by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Around a quarter of these workers were in human health and social work. In addition, 123,000 workers suffering with COVID-19 believed they were exposed to the virus at work.
Notes to Editors:
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. hse.gov.uk
- Details on HSE’s work-related mental health campaign, Working Minds, can be found here Working Minds – Work Right to keep Britain safe
- Details on HSE’s new 10-year strategy can be found here HSE strategy 2022 to 2032 – About us – HSE
- Further information on annual fatal injury statistics released in July can be found: Statistics – Work-related fatal injuries in Great Britain (hse.gov.uk)
- The updated year’s data (mostly 2021/22) has again been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the government’s response, though to a lesser extent than was seen last year.