Horizon Platforms, a leading provider of access platform hire and sales across the UK, has conducted a comprehensive analysis of data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), shedding light on the staggering costs incurred due to workplace illness and injury across Britain.

The findings underscore the profound impact of these issues, not only on businesses but also on individuals and society as a whole.

According to the analysis, workplace illness and injury collectively amount to a staggering £20.7 billion per year in Britain.

This figure encompasses both direct costs, such as medical expenses and compensation, as well as indirect costs resulting from reduced productivity and absenteeism. On average, each affected individual takes approximately 17 days off work due to work-related illness and nine days off due to injury.

Reduced productivity

A significant portion of these costs, £7.2 billion annually, is attributed to reduced productivity resulting from worker illness and injury. This highlights the far-reaching consequences of these issues on businesses, economies, and overall societal well-being. While the causes of workplace illness and injury are diverse, the report emphasises that workplace environments themselves play a pivotal role.

To provide a deeper understanding of the regional variations in these costs, Horizon Platforms has broken down the data by region, comparing costs against estimated population sizes for each area. The analysis reveals significant disparities across different parts of Britain, with some regions bearing a disproportionately heavier burden than others.

Regional Disparities in Costs

London, with its dense population and bustling commercial activities, incurs the highest costs related to workplace illness and injury. The estimated total costs for London amount to a staggering £2.65 billion annually, making it the highest-ranking region for worker illness costs and the second highest for injury costs in Britain.

Conversely, the North East reports the lowest expenses for work-related ill health and injuries, largely attributable to its smaller population size. However, despite this, a study indicates that North East workers have a higher tendency to take sick leave, albeit with minimal effect on overall costs due to the region’s smaller population.

In the North West, the costs associated with work-related injuries and illnesses surpass even those of Scotland, indicating the significant economic impact within this populous region. Similarly, Yorkshire & the Humber face substantial costs, particularly in terms of work-related absence, although the region reports relatively lower injury expenses.

Wales, with its comparatively smaller population, ranks second lowest for combined costs of illness and injury, reflecting the influence of population size on overall expenditure. Meanwhile, the South East incurs the greatest expenses in the UK for worker injuries, second only to London in terms of illness costs.

Insights from Regional Data

The analysis also provides insights into the specific challenges faced by each region. In Scotland, for instance, workplace stress and anxiety account for a significant proportion of illness cases, underscoring the need for robust support mechanisms in the workplace. In contrast, musculoskeletal disorders feature prominently in the North East, highlighting the importance of ergonomics and workplace safety measures.

The findings from Horizon Platforms’ analysis serve as a stark reminder of the substantial economic and human costs associated with workplace illness and injury in Britain. Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach, encompassing proactive safety measures, robust support systems for workers, and targeted interventions tailored to the specific needs of each region.






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.