• International Workplace
  • 21 November 2017

Britain’s annual injury and ill health statistics released

The latest annual injury and ill health statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show 1.3 million workers were suffering from work-related ill-health and there were 609,000 workplace injuries in 2016/17.

The figures show that while Britain remains one of the safest places to work, there is still work to do to drive figures down. Workplace injury and new cases of ill health cost Britain £14.9bn a year with 31.2 million working days lost.

The annual statistics, compiled by HSE from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and other sources, cover work-related ill-health, workplace injuries, working days lost, costs to Britain and enforcement action taken.

Top line statistics show that in 2016/17 there were:

  • 137 fatal injuries in Britain’s workplaces;
  • 70,116 other injuries reported by employers;
  • 12,000 lung disease deaths estimated to be linked to past work exposures; and
  • 554 cases prosecuted with fines from convictions totalling £69.9m.

Fines are not collected by HSE but are levied by the courts in criminal cases and paid to HM Treasury.

Martin Temple, HSE Chair, said of the findings:

“These latest figures should act as a spur to reduce the impact of ill health and injury on Britain’s workforce and businesses and we cannot rest on our reputation. We will only achieve long-term improvement by a collective approach to improve workplace standards. Poor standards lead to poor health and increased injuries, which is bad for the workforce and business.”

Though there were fewer prosecutions taken in 2016/17, the statistics show an increase in fines to £69.9m from the 2015/16 total of £38.8m. New sentencing guidelines in England and Wales were introduced in 2016. Twenty large fines accounted for £30.7m of the new figure.

Stacey Collins, International Workplace’s Head of Environment, Health and Safety, said:

“An 80% increase in fines is a sea-change; the climate just got a lot more blustery for businesses breaking health and safety law. For comparison, fine totals were only £19m in 2014/15; a £100m year is an easy prediction to make for 2018. Almost the entire increase this year, over last year, is attributable to a handful of serious cases where fines were imposed in line with the revised Sentencing Guidelines post-February 2016.

"Most other aspects of those cases were business as usual. But we are now in a new era of properly punitive fines and custodial sentences for firms who don’t look after people. Businesses need to respond by upping the level of awareness and competency at the top of their organisation and demonstrating health and safety leadership.”

The full annual injury and ill health statistics report can be found at: