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Workplace Injuries to More Than 3 Million Workers A Year

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In 2018, more than 3 million workers in the EU suffered work injuries requiring more than four days of absence from work (3,124,828 total) and there were 3,332 fatal accidents at work.

The highest incidence of fatal worker injuries across the EU was in the construction sector at 20.5% of all fatal accidents, with the transportation and storage sector accounting for 16.7%, manufacturing 15.2% and agriculture, forestry and fishing 13.2%

The EU manufacturing sector saw the highest incidence of non-fatal worker accidents at 19.1%, followed by the wholesale and retail trade (12.1%), construction (11.6%) and human health and social work activities (10.8%)

Work Accidents in the UK – the Statistical Outlook

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in 2019/20, around 693,000 British workers suffered a non-fatal injury at work; 168,000 of these resulted in a 'more than seven-day absence' from work.

Work injuries take a societal toll as well as a personal toll. In 2019/20, there were 38.8 million working days lost because of workplace injury and occupational illness. Figures for 2018/19 show that the annual cost of workplace injury was around £5.6 million.

While these statistics contribute to a steady downward trend in the incidence of workplace injury and illness over the past four and a half decades, they show that there is still a great deal of work to be done to improve the level of health and safety in the British workplace.

How the UK Compares to Other European Countries

In 2018, the Eurostat standardised fatal injury incidence rate per 100,000 employees across the EU was 1.17. In the UK it was 0.61.

The UK consistently records one of the lowest rates of fatal injury across the EU. This compares favourably with other developed countries such as France (3.07 per 100,000 employees), Spain (1.49 per 100,000 employees) and Italy (1.04 per 100,000 employees).

In 2015 the European Working Conditions Survey found that 23% of EU workers felt their health or safety was at risk because of their work. Answering the same question, 18% of UK workers felt they were at risk, in France the figure was 34%, Spain 36%. Swedish workers felt the least safe at 47%.

Improving the Situation

There are numerous types of work injuries, ranging from slips and falls to machinery accidents and incidents involving hazardous substances, unsafe work equipment and manual handling injuries. Wherever you go to work there will always be some level of associated risk, but work injury problems can be addressed in several ways.

  • Firstly, accidents at work can be prevented by reducing the risks to a minimum.
  • Secondly, preparedness for an accident - making sure staff and facilities are available to give on-the-spot first aid immediately after an accident has occurred.
  • Finally, having suitable ‘return-to-work' schemes in place, providing compensation, and implementing rehabilitation after the injuries.

Victims of work accidents often face disruption to the course of their life. Post-trauma, many experience difficulties in returning to their old place of work and, in some cases, they struggle with family life as well.

Rehabilitation can be a very stressful and difficult process, not only due to physical injuries, but also coping with any psychological impact that the accident at work has caused. It is vital that the victim gets all the help that he or she may need, including emotional support, medical assistance and financial compensation.

Preventing further workplace accidents

One of the key tools in accident prevention is accident reporting. Under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) employers are obligated to report certain work accidents, illnesses and unsafe or 'near-miss' incidents to the Health and Safety Executive, local authority or Office for Rail Regulation.

Reporting is not only a legal requirement, it is essential so that the relevant authority can identify how and why risks arise and to further investigate when necessary.

Thompsons are here to help

If you have been involved in an accident at work that was not your fault and have suffered an injury, contact our compensation claim lawyers today on 0800 0891 331.

We will quickly be able to assess your claim and help you receive the compensation you deserve on a ‘No Win No Fee' basis.

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