Almost 12 million Britons have experienced health problems due to their job in the last 12 months, according to a new survey by the insurance group RSA.

It revealed that 11.8 million people suffered from a work-related illness or injury during the past year and 54 per cent of these sued their employer as a result.

Stress and anxiety were found to be the most common problems, affecting 26 per cent of those taken ill at work, while back pain was experienced by a quarter.

And these illnesses and injuries are having a significant impact on business, with 36 million working days lost in total in 2006 and 2007.

Indeed, the research shows that 17 per cent of sickness sufferers took between one and six months to recover and almost 200,000 Britons had to leave work permanently.

Colin Bradbury, underwriting director at RSA, said: "This highlights the importance of risk management in safeguarding employees’ health and ensuring a productive workplace."

According to figures seen by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development one in five UK workers report feeling extremely stressed at work.