Workplace Accidents Cost the UK Economy £5.6bn Each Year

By Blackwater Law

A report published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides welcomed insight into the cost of injuries caused by accidents at work on the British economy each year.

The report shows that a staggering 622,000 workers are injured in the workplace in the average year. Jason Brady, Blackwater Law solicitor specialising in accident at work compensation claims gives his opinion.

On average, 151 people will die each year from accidents in the workplace, a further 169,000 will have non-fatal injuries but will take more than seven days off work due to the injuries they have sustained and in 453,000 cases of accidents at work the individual involved will take up to six days off work. The figures refer to the year 2013/14, these being the most up to date available statistics. During this period, a total of 4.7m working days were lost.

In total, the injuries resulting from accidents in the workplace cost Britain an estimated £5.6bn each and every year. HSE breaks this down further into the different severities of injury with fatal injuries costing the economy an estimated £0.2bn, those accidents resulting in seven or more days off work costing approximately £5bn and those leading to six or less days of work costing Britain £0.4bn.

If you are wondering who exactly bears these costs, the HSE report identifies the three main cost-bearing parties as being the individuals affected, the employers of said individuals and the state, with each party incurring costs in different ways.

For the individual, financial costs include those relating to loss of earnings, healthcare and administration. Costs to the employer relate to occupational/statutory sick payments and loss of productivity, as well as payment of Employers Liability Compulsory Insurance premiums. Government costs include payment of state benefit and loss of tax receipts (which combined account for approximately three-quarters of government costs in cases of accidents at work), as well as health costs incurred through the NHS.

Tables 1, 2 and 3 below illustrate the cost to each of the above parties of fatal injuries, non-fatal injuries resulting in six or less days off work and non-fatal injuries resulting in seven or more days off work respectively.

chart showing cost per fatal accident


As might be expected, Table 1 shows that much of the cost of fatal accidents in the workplace is borne by the individual involved (£1,317,000) and the majority of this is non-financial human cost which has been monitised for the purposes of analysis (£1,113,000). However, the individual (including any family they leave behind) bear more financial burden than the employer or the state, even when possible accident compensation payments are taken into account. Such costs would include loss of what would have been estimated future income, this often being the most significant.

chart showing cost of non fatal accidents


Interestingly, Table 2 above shows that whilst the individuals involved in non-fatal accidents at work resulting in seven or more days off work bear the greatest costs of the three parties, this is once again mostly human cost. In fact HSE suggests that the financial impact on individuals in such circumstances is positive. Whilst this may come as a surprise, this positive financial impact on the individual is as a result of their receipt of accident at work compensation. Average costs to the employer and the state in such accident and injury cases are £4,800 and £5,700 respectively.

Commenting on these findings, Jason Brady, accident at work compensation solicitor at Blackwater Law, said:

“I welcome the publication of these accidents at work statistics. They clearly demonstrate the significant overall cost borne by individuals that suffer accidents at work which are incurred even in those accidents resulting in a short period of time off work. These costs can be overlooked or downplayed by employers in some cases. These statistics also demonstrate the important role personal injury solicitors play in minimising this cost to individuals.”

chart showing cost of accidents with more than 7 days off work


Table 3 above illustrates the average costs resulting from an accident in the workplace that causes a worker to take six or less days off work. In these cases there is a moderate financial cost to the employee (£40) but the majority of the financial cost of the accident is borne by the government (£380).

The HSE report provides a useful insight into the real costs of accidents in the workplace, both financial and otherwise. Of particular interest to personal injury lawyers will be the evidence highlighting that it is those individuals involved in accidents at work that bear a significant proportion of the related costs. Whilst these statistics highlight the importance of the work undertaken by personal injury lawyers in seeing that those injured in a workplace accident are properly compensated so that they are not left financially worse off; the HSE report is ultimately unlikely to do much to reverse the tarnishing of the personal injury industry and the lawyers that work within it. When it comes to the inevitable discussion about professions at dinner parties, for personal injury lawyers, honesty is still not the best policy.

If you have been involved in an accident at work, call Blackwater Law and speak with one of our personal injury solicitors that specialises in claiming compensation for accidents at work. They will provide you with the legal advice you need to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering and potential financial losses, including healthcare costs and any current or future potential loss of earnings.

Contact Blackwater Law today on 0800 083 5500 for free initial advice.