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.

Key figures for Great Britain (2021/22)

  • 1.8 million working people suffering from a work-related illness, of which
    • 914,000 workers suffering work-related stress, depression or anxiety
    • 477,000 workers suffering from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder
    • 123,000 workers suffering from COVID-19 which they believe may have been from exposure to coronavirus at work
  • 2,544 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2020)
  • 123 workers killed in work-related accidents
  • 565,000 working people sustained an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey
  • 61,713 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 36.8 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
  • £18.8 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2019/20)

With nearly 1 million individuals now suffering from stress, depression, and anxiety it is clear that employers need to do more to meet their responsibilities to support good mental health at work.  Goldcross Training can assist in this area so why not give us a call on 0203 633 5505 or send an email to: bookings@goldcross-training.com to discuss how we might facilitate appropriate training for your workforce.

Alternatively you might like to consider our readily available e-learning courses: Mental Health Awareness or Mental Health First Aid.

As reported on: HSE Media.