On 16 December 2021, the HSE published statistics covering work-related ill health, non-fatal workplace injuries and enforcement action taken by the regulator, in the 2020/21 period.
The statistics reveal that 1.7 million workers were suffering from a work-related illness (new or long standing) in 2020/21. Of these, 800,000 were attributable to stress, depression or anxiety, and 28% were musculoskeletal disorders (500,000 workers). I suggest you share these stats with the team so they can see and focus on areas of concern.
Two new estimates have been developed to measure the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These reveal:
• 93,000 workers self-reported catching COVID-19 at work; 52,000 of these worked in the human health and social work sector.
• 645,000 workers reported that their work-related illness was caused or made worse by the coronavirus pandemic; 70% of these were cases of stress, depression or anxiety.
The HSE notes that the pandemic has affected certain data collection and impacted on assessment of trends, therefore there is no new data on working days lost and the associated economic cost for 2021.
It is not known whether some of the people reporting a coronavirus-related ill health condition would have developed and reported an ill health condition if pre-pandemic working practices had continued. Therefore, it is not possible to assess the scale of work-related ill health independent of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, says the regulator.
Other figures reveal:
• 0.4 million workers sustaining a non-fatal injury in 2020/21.
• 142 workers killed at work in 2020/21.
• 441,000 workers sustaining a non-fatal injury according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey in 2020/21.
• 51,211 employee non-fatal injuries reported by employers under RIDDOR in 2020/21.
• 12,000 lung disease deaths each year estimated to be linked to past exposures at work.
• 2,369 mesothelioma deaths in 2019, with a similar number of lung cancer deaths linked to past exposures to asbestos.
• 17,000 estimated new cases of breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work each year on average over the last three years according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey.
• 13,000 deaths each year estimated to be linked to past exposure at work, primarily to chemicals or dust.
• 470,000 workers suffering from work-related musculoskeletal disorders (new or longstanding) in 2020/21.
• 162,000 workers suffering from a new case of work-related musculoskeletal disorder in 2020/21.
The restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on the number of prosecutions and notices issued, says the HSE.
This year has also seen a substantial fall in the number of cases prosecuted. The number of notices issued by HSE bodies showed a substantial decrease compared to the previous year.
Key statistics are:
• 185 cases prosecuted, or referred to COPFS for prosecution in Scotland, by HSE where a conviction was achieved in 2020/21.
• 2,929 Notices issued by HSE in 2020/21.
• £26.9 million in fines resulting from prosecutions taken, or referred to COPFS for prosecution in Scotland, by HSE where a conviction was achieved in 2020/21.
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