A focus on Mental Health and the Annual Health & Safety report

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04 December, 2020

Ridwaan Omar
Partner and Head of Regulatory

The HSE have released their annual report to include health and safety statistics for Great Britain for 2019/2020. The statistics have been compiled with assistance from the Labour Force Survey.

The headline figures shows that there were:

  • 111 fatal injuries at work
  • 1.6 million working people suffering from work-related illness
  • 0.8 million working people with work-related stress, depression or anxiety
  • 0.5 million working people with work-related musculoskeletal disorder cases
  • 0.7 million workers sustaining a non-fatal injury
  • 65,427 non-fatal injuries to employees reported via RIDDOR
  • 12,000 lung disease deaths each year estimated to be linked to past exposures at work

Of the 1.6 million workers with new or work-related ill-health, 51% of those related to workers with stress, depression or anxiety; 30% to musculoskeletal disorders and 19% for other types of illness.

Just looking at the work-related mental health illness statistics, the 828,000 workers suffering from stress, depression or anxiety caused by work resulted in 17.9 million working days being lost due workers absence from work.

The rate since 2003/04 for this type of illness shows an upward increasing trend which may be accounted for by employers having better reporting procedures, the reporting of mental ill-health no longer being seen as a taboo, better societal expectations and focus on mental health well-being for workers and better education and resources being available for reporting work-related mental ill-health.

By type of occupation, the rate of stress, depression or anxiety amongst public service industries showed higher levels of stress including p ublic administration and defence, health and social work and Education. The main work factors include workload pressures (tight deadlines and too much responsibility) and a lack of managerial support. There are also various external factors which can also have an impact on mental health within the workplace given that these external factors put additional pressure on the employee whilst they are at work.

By age and gender, whilst mental health stress can be suffered at all ages, the statistics showed that for males the age group of 25-54 showed higher than average levels and for females, the 25-44 age group was higher than average. Apart from the working days lost, which will lead to lost productivity, work related stress can also lead to civil liability for stress related claims if it is not properly managed, so can increase the burden further on employers.

Employers are increasing their awareness of mental health illness which they need to address in their workplace. There have been a lot of recent media campaigns making it clear that talking about mental health is a good thing. Ensuring that employers have policies and procedures in place to help employees to get back into work is important. The provision of support services and counselling are important factors but it is equally important that you look at the underlying causes of any mental health illness arising from the workplace and seek to address these factors as well.

For more information contact Ridwaan Omar in our Insurance department via email or phone on 01254 222457. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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