More Than Half of UK’s Lost Working Days Due to Mental Ill-Health.
Statistics released by the HSE show that more than half of Britain’s lost working days in 2019/20 were due to mental ill-health.
The report’s release coincides with International Stress Awareness Week 2020, a global promotion focussed on ensuring that mental health issues receive maximum attention, with the active promotion of wellbeing in the workplace.
The prevalence of mental health issues is also backed up by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data. Almost one in five adults (19.2 per cent) were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus pandemic in June 2020. This had almost doubled from around 1 in 10 (9.7 per cent) before the pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020).
The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) data does broadly show that the UK is still one of the safest places in the world to work with the lowest number of deaths on record.
COVID-19 “Not a Main Driver of Change”
The annual report includes statistics for work-related ill health, workplace injuries, working days lost, enforcement action taken, and the associated costs to Great Britain.
Despite ONS’ data suggesting otherwise, the emergence of COVID-19 as a national health issue at the end of the final quarter of 2019/20 does not appear to be the main driver of changes seen in HSE’s 2019/20 data, although it is possible that COVID-19 may be a contributory factor.
38.8 Million Working Days Lost Due to Work-Related Illness
Figures show that around 693,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries in 2019/2020 and 1.6 million workers suffering from work-related ill-health.
The statistics, compiled from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and other sources, illustrate that in Great Britain in the 2019/2020 period there were:
- 111 fatal injuries at work.
- 1.6 million working people suffering from a work-related illness.
- 38.8 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury.
- 325 cases were prosecuted and resulted in a conviction. Fines from convictions totalled £35.8 million.
In 2019/2020, the estimated economic cost to Great Britain totalled £16.2 billion with 38.8 million working days lost.
In response to the report, Sarah Newton, HSE Chair said:
“The COVID pandemic has focussed attention on the health and safety issues people face in the workplace. HSE remains committed to taking action where workers are not protected, to ensure the guidance and assistance we provide for employers in managing risks is the best available, based on the latest evidence and science.
“Although Great Britain continues to be up there with the safest places in the world to work, these figures highlight the scale of the challenge HSE currently faces in making Britain an even healthier and safer place to work, this includes our role in the response to the pandemic to ensure workplaces are COVID Secure.
“We must continue to drive home the importance of managing risk and promoting behaviours to ensure employers work right so that workers are able to go home healthy and safe at the end of each day.”
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