Back to News

How big a problem is workplace illness?

For many employers, work accidents are the main focus of their health and safety activities. However, work related illness is fast becoming a real issue, which does need to be addressed.
Work related illness encompasses a wide range of problems, from asbestosis (a lung disease resulting from the inhalation and retention of asbestos particles), mesothelioma (a form of cancer, usually caused by exposure to asbestos), through to neck and back pain.
However, to understand the severity of work related illness, you need to look at the real impact. Over 12,000 people die each year from work related illness, which when you compare with the number of fatal work accidents each year (about 170), the impact is significant.
When considering work related illness, stress is the underlying reason for most new cases, with musculoskeletal problems being the next biggest problem for businesses today.
Public perception of occupational illness though is often under-estimated, with half the people surveyed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) thinking that only 1,000 people a year die from work related illnesses.In addition to the lack of public awareness of work related illness, 27 million working days were lost in 2011/2012 as a result of work related illness and injury.
Associated costs of work related illness and injuries are thought to be nearly £14 billion a year, and these figures do not include cancer sufferers, whose numbers are on the increase as a result of asbestos exposure.What is clear is that work related illness is, and will continue to be a real issue for both employers and employees in future. By addressing some of the factors around work related illness, there is an opportunity to improve the health of employees and increase attendance at work.
If you or a family member are suffering with a work related illness, you should speak to a workplace injury solicitor who can advise you whether you have a claim. Call 01302 320621 or email

Get in touch today