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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published new statistics that outline work-related ill health, non-fatal workplace injuries and enforcement actions taken in the 2020/21 period. 

In the latest report, 1.7 million people reported suffering from a work-related illness, with around half of people suffering from stress, depression or anxiety. Seventy percent of  645,000 workers reported that the coronavirus pandemic had caused or worsened their stress, depression or anxiety, highlighting a major concern for the mental health of workers in the UK. 

The pandemic has also seen 93,000 workers catching Covid-19 at work, with 52,000 of these workers operating in the human health and social work sector. 

HSE work-related ill-health, injury and enforcement statistics 2020/21

Work-related ill health and injuries: Key facts

The report highlights other key facts surrounding work related ill-health and injuries in 2020/21, including: 

  • 142 workers were killed in 2020/21 
  • 0.4 million workers sustained a non-fatal injury in 2020/21 
  • 0.5 million workers are suffering from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (new or longstanding) in 2020/21
  • 12,000 lung disease deaths each year estimated to be linked to past exposures at work 

Industries most impacted

From the 1.7 million workers impacted, the report highlights the top industries where workers were most likely to experience work-related ill health and workplace injuries.

In 2020/21, the top industries most likely to experience work-related ill health per 100,000 workers were:

  • Human health/social work 
  • Public administration/defence
  • Education

These industries experience statistically significantly higher rates compared to the all industry rate according to the Health and Safety Executive. Other top industries included:

  • Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
  • Administrative and support service activities
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing

In 2020/21, the top industries most likely to experience workplace injury per 100,000 workers were:

  • Agriculture, forestry and and fishing
  • Construction
  • Accommodation/food service activities 
  • Wholesale/retail trade, repair of motor vehicles 

These industries all faced significantly higher statistical levels compared to the all industry average. 

In the past 5 years, agriculture, forestry and fishing as well as construction remain the most dangerous sectors for workers. 


Restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic have had an impact on the number of prosecutions and notices issued for health and safety failings in 2020/21. HSE has seen a substantial decrease in the number of cases prosecuted and a decrease in the number of notices issued. 

In 2020/21, 185 cases were prosecuted; 2929 notices were issued by HSE, and £26.9 million in fines were issued as a result of prosecutions taking place. 


Check out a full summary of this year’s statistics in the infographic below.

HSE Annual work related ill-health and injury infographic 2020/21


It is evident that the coronavirus pandemic has not only affected the assessment of trends in health and safety, but it has also had a significant impact on all areas of work, where stress, depression and anxiety has become more prominent across a number of industry sectors. 

Across 1.7 million workers, 0.6 million workers said their work-related illness was caused or made worse by the pandemic. Despite the pandemic putting a stop to operations across a number of sectors in the past year due to restrictions, the level of workplace injury hasn’t ceased. In 2020/21, 142 workers were killed and 441,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury.

This data of work-related ill health and workplace injury can be documented across a number of sectors, most prominently in agriculture, forestry and fishing, construction, accommodation/food service activities, wholesale and retail trade and human/health and social work. 

For a full breakdown of the 2020/21 health and safety at work statistics, please click here to view HSE’s report

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