The latest HSE health and safety statistics: 2017/18

Tuesday December 4, 2018

Health and safety at work, wherever that may be and whatever it involves, is crucial for every business to get right. The consequences of not doing so may be injury, illness and, in rare cases, death.

Every year the Health & Safety Executive publishes statistics on work-related ill-health and accidents, and the H&S claims made over the previous year. Here’s what this year’s report shows, looking at the 2017/18 period.


There were 1.4 million cases of work-related ill-health in 2017/18, according to the Health and Safety Executive’s annual report.

The causes behind this can give businesses a real insight into how they can best offer support to their workers. This is a powerful tool in managing absenteeism. The most common causes of illness (44%) were stress, depression and anxiety. And of the total working days lost to ill health over this time period, 57% were related to stress, depression or anxiety.

What’s causing it?

The biggest cause of stress and mental illness at work was workload (44%), while 14% stemmed from employees feeling they had a lack of support. A further 13% were caused by workplace violence, threats or bullying.

How can stress be alleviated?

Workplace stress has become a huge issue in recent years. It is becoming a top priority for employers, with many offering employees support for their mental health.

Whether that’s through clear signposting, a dedicated colleague on hand to listen and help, or offering employees meditation classes or counselling services; organisations are becoming more aware of the importance of alleviating stress at work.

The number of cases of mental ill-health and stress have been showing signs of increasing over recent years. So it’s more important than ever to ensure you have preventative measures in place, not just procedural processes for after the fact.

Workplace fatalities and injuries

Injuries are another major health and safety issue in the workplace. Over 2017/18, there were 555,000 non-fatal injuries to workers, which gave rise to a total loss of 3.9 million working days.

Where is this happening?

The industries with the most work-related injuries were agriculture, forestry and fishing, followed by construction and then food services/accommodation. Most, (31%) of non-fatal injuries were slips, trips or falls on the same level, while 21% were handling, lifting or carrying; 10% were caused by being struck by an object; 8% were falls from a height and 7% were acts of violence.

Fatal injuries

There were 144 work-related deaths in the 2017/18 period reported on. Fatalities are extremely rare, and rates have slowly been decreasing in recent years.

Fines and prosecution

This year has seen a fall in the number of cases prosecuted, the same trend as the year before. A total of 493 cases were prosecuted leading to conviction in the last year. And this resulted in £72.6 million in fines being taken.

11,522 notices were issues by all enforcing bodies, which is a small drop compared to 2016/17. However, you should note that the value of fines has remained broadly the same, reflecting tougher sentencing guidelines that have been introduced where companies are found guilty.

Don’t end up as just another statistic

These statistics are useful for highlighting particular areas of risk, and long-term trends. And they also show the bigger picture of health and safety in the UK, indicating the financial and human costs of getting H&S wrong. We help businesses stay out of these statistics with pragmatic health and safety advice.

If you would like expert advice or a review of your existing health and safety policies, call our dedicated Health and Safety team on 0345 208 1120 or email

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