Incidents of Accidents at Work in the UK Compared to Other EU Countries

By Blackwater Law

Solicitors at Blackwater Law specialising in accident at work compensation claims have analysed European statistics on accidents at work (ESAW) for 2012 (the most recent available that provide for the below level of analysis) and compared the incidents of accidents at work in the UK with those of other EU member states, as well as making comparisons between the rate of fatalities compared to non-fatal accidents.

As might be expected given the existence of stringent health and safety laws and bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive, and for its part a strong litigation sector, the UK fares favourably.

In the UK in 2012 (remember these are the most recent statistics providing for comparison between EU states) there were approximately 143,171 reported accidents at work resulting in the injured worker/s having four or more days off work. The table below compares this to the number of reported comparable accidents (by time off work) in other EU states.

Chart showing reported accidents at work in EU countries

Table 1 shows that the UK has the fifth highest number of reported accidents at work behind Germany, which has the most at 709,940. In comparison, France has 461,376, Spain has 281,045 and Italy has 274,040. The country with the lowest number of workplace accidents is Latvia with just 1,213 incidents of accidents at work.

However, these figures of course cannot be considered on their own, they must be analysed alongside labour force statistics so as to provide for a rate of incidence of accidents in the workplace. These figures can be seen in Table 2.

Chart showing accidents at work in EU countries as a percentage of workforce

Table 2 shows that Luxembourg has the highest incidents of accidents at work that result in a worker having four or more days off work, relative to the size of its active workforce, at 2.6%. Luxembourg is followed by Portugal with 2.2%, Germany 1.7%, France 1.6% and Switzerland with 1.6%. The UK’s 143,171 reported accidents, to its approximate labour force of 31,162,000, provides for an accident rate of just 0.2%. This ranks the UK above only three other countries, these being Bulgaria (0.1%), Latvia (0.1%) and Romania (0.03%), indicating the UK is comparatively, and relatively speaking, the safest place to work of the key European economies.

The ESAW figures provide for further analysis still, differentiating between those accidents that resulted in fatalities. It is not surprising that there are differences between the percentage of reported accidents at work which result in fatalities across the EU states, however the differences are significant. The four EU member states with the highest rate of fatal accidents at work as a percentage of reported workplace accidents resulting in four or more days off work is Romania 8.2%, Bulgaria at 4.8% and Latvia at 2.6%, Lithuania 2.3%. This compares to the UK where the figure was only 0.1%.

In the average year, according to HSE, there will be an estimated total of 622,000 reported accidents at work in the UK, including fatal accidents and those resulting in various lengths of time off work for those workers injured. We have discussed the cost of accidents at work on the UK economy in a previous article, and the economic costs of accidents at work can also be found in our accidents at work infographic.

Commenting on the statistics, Jason Brady, personal injury solicitor at Blackwater Law personal injury solicitors in Essex, said:

“It is encouraging that the UK has low incidence of accidents at work as a proportion of the country’s total active workforce, and that fatal accidents account for so few accidents, however, even one avoidable death is too many.
“However, there are still 622,000 accidents taking place and these accidents have very real, and sometimes life-changing, consequences and costs for the individuals involved. We implore the HSE to continue its good work in making places of work safer for employees.”

Claiming Compensation for an Accident at Work

If you or a relative have been injured in an accident at work, it is recommended you seek free initial legal advice from the specialist personal injury solicitors at Blackwater Law.
Call Blackwater Law solicitors today on 0800 083 5500.