Half of work related illness is down to stress, depression or anxiety

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1.8 million workers reported they were suffering from work-related ill health in 2022/23, with approximately half of the cases down to stress, depression or anxietyNearly two million workers in Great Britain reported suffering from work-related ill health in 2022/23, according the latest annual statistical report from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive. The statistics reveal that 1.8 million workers reported they were suffering from work-related ill health in 2022/23, with approximately half of the cases down to stress, depression or anxiety. In the recent years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of self-reported work-related ill health had been broadly flat, but the current rate is higher than 2018/19.

There were an estimated 875,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2022/23. The current rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety is higher than the pre-pandemic level. An estimated 35.2 million working days were lost in 2022/23 due to self-reported work-related ill health or injury.

HSE’s chief executive Sarah Albon said: “Preventing or tackling work-related stress can provide significant benefits to employees, improving their experience of work and their overall health; and also to employers including increased productivity, decreased absenteeism and reduced staff turnover.”

HSE’s statistics also reveal the impact work-related ill health and workplace injuries are having on Britain’s economic performance. In 2021/22, the estimated annual costs of workplace injury and new cases of work-related ill health reached £20.7 billion, representing a £1.9 billion increase compared with 2019/20.

The figures also show that 135 workers were killed in work-related accidents in 2022/23, while 561,000 workers sustained a self-reported non-fatal injury in the workplace during the same period.

 

Working minds

Earlier this month, the HSE launched a “much needed” online learning tool designed to prevent work-related stress. Businesses are encouraged to sign-up to the free-to-use interactive tool, designed by the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Working Minds campaign, to understand what they need to do to comply with the law. The tool sets out to provide the guidance employers need to take action to meet their legal duties and begin to understand how to include stress in their workplace risk assessments.

Created as part of HSE’s Working Minds campaign, which promotes good mental health in the workplace, the new tool is made up of six short modules. These take employers through relatable, everyday scenarios, such as how to recognise the signs of stress in individuals and teams like regular lateness to work, being withdrawn and higher staff turnover.

Liz Goodwill, head of work-related stress policy at HSE, said: “More than half of small and medium sized (SME) businesses recently visited by HSE knew they had a legal duty to assess the risk of work-related stress, but the number who actually did this was significantly lower. This new online tool will help employers understand the steps and actions necessary to help bridge this gap. It is a much needed solution.

“Lack of time, money and know-how are common reasons why businesses can struggle to prevent and proactively tackle the issue. Now, they have a resource that provides free learning which is simple and engaging and does not take a huge amount of time to complete.

“Businesses will come away with an understanding of what the law requires of employers and what actions they need to take. It provides an opportunity for employers to refresh their existing knowledge and help drive the culture change that the Working Minds campaign is aiming to achieve. I encourage them to give it a go.”