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The Rising Toll of Work-Related Ill Health in Britain

New statistics published this week reveal a concerning rise in work-related ill health in Britain. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), nearly 2 million workers reported suffering from work-related health issues in 2022/23. That's a significant jump from pre-pandemic levels.

Stress, depression and anxiety account for about half of the reported cases. An estimated 875,000 workers are dealing with mental health issues caused or exacerbated by work. This too marks an uptick from 2018/2019.

In total, over 35 million working days were lost last year due to work-related injury and illness. That translates to lowered productivity and profits for British businesses. But more importantly, it points to millions of workers struggling with often preventable health problems.

HSE Chief Executive Sarah Albon summed it up: "Preventing or tackling work-related stress can provide significant benefits to employees, improving their experience of work and their overall health; and also to employers including increased productivity, decreased absenteeism and reduced staff turnover."

The monetary impact is also staggering. Workplace injury and new cases of work-related ill health cost Britain's economy £20.7 billion last year. That's nearly £2 billion more than before the pandemic. With the right workplace health strategies, much of this cost is avoidable.

Sadly, 135 workers also lost their lives to work-related accidents in 2022/2023. And over half a million sustained non-fatal injuries on the job. Each of these statistics represents real human suffering.

As we move forward in a post-pandemic economy, business leaders and policy makers must prioritise workplace health and safety. The human and economic impacts are simply too high to ignore. Proven prevention strategies for physical and mental health issues deserve more attention.

No one should have to sacrifice their health or well-being for a paycheck. A healthy, happy workforce is the bedrock of a thriving economy and society.


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