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Accidents at work: Top 7 Facts about UK Work Accident Statistics

10th December 2009
By Jessica Parker in Employment Law
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Accidents at work happen every day in the UK, and the latest statistics from the Health and Safety Executive for 2008/9 show just how many and what type of work accidents have been reported by British workers in the last year. Here are the top 7 facts about the 2008/9 accidents at work and ill health caused by work.

1. Ill health caused over one million absences from work in 2008/9

A total of 1.2 million people had to take time off work in 2008/9 due to an illness caused by their work. According to the HSE, work-related illnesses typically include illnesses like asbestos-related illnesses, asthma, cancer, deafness, infections, lead exposure, musculoskeletal disorders, skin disorders, stress and hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

2. There were 180 work-related deaths in 2008/9

Accidents at work caused 180 deaths, including 26 in the agricultural industry, 53 in the construction industry, 32 in the manufacturing industry and 63 in the services industry. The figure of 180 deaths is lower than the average number of deaths per year due to accidents at work over the last five years, which was 231. There were also 94 members of the public killed in accidents connected to accidents at work, including railway-related accidents.

3. ‘Only about half' of all ‘reportable' injuries were reported

Accidents at work caused 131,895 injuries which were reported to RIDDOR. However, Labour Force Survey statistics showed that in fact there were a total of 246,000 reportable injuries in the workplace. The big difference between these two statistics, showing ‘reported' and ‘reportable' injuries, is because in reality only about half of the injuries from accidents at work that should be reported to RIDDOR are actually reported.

4. There are many more non-reportable, work-related illnesses

Reportable injuries include any injury which caused the worker to be off work for more than four days, although there are many more injuries which cause employees to take less than four days off work. The HSE estimates that there were a grand total of 726,000 accidents at work altogether.

5. Workers have an average of 1.24 Days off work due to work-related illness

Workers took a total of 29.3 million days off work, 4.7 million due to injuries caused by accidents at work and 24.6 million due to work-related illness. The total days lost equal an average of 1.24 days per UK worker. There

6. The government strategy - Revitalising Health and Safety - is working

is currently a scheme in place called ‘Revitalising Health and Safety' (‘RHS') is a 10-year government strategy, begun in 2000, which aims to improve health and safety in the workplace, reducing accidents at work and injuries to employees as a result. The RHS target has been to reduce the number of days taken off work due to accidents at work and work-related ill-health by 30% between 2000-02 and 2009/10. Statistically, progress appears to be on track to meet the target in time for 2009/2010.

7. You may be able to claim compensation

If you have suffered an injury due to an accident at work, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Compensation amounts for work accident injuries vary according to the seriousness of the injuries and amount of lost earnings due to time taken off work following the accident. Businesses are insured for compensation claims payouts so, if you claim against your employer, their insurance company will pay your compensation. You cannot legally lose your job because of making a compensation claim.
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