November 24, 2022
The estimated number of workers in Great Britain suffering from work-related illness is 1.8 million with mental health issues related to stress, depression, and anxiety making up around half of all cases. That is the headline figure in the latest annual statistics report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The figures from the 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 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.
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.”