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IOSH “deeply concerned” about work-related ill health figures

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is urging businesses to ensure they continually review measures they have in place to protect staff as new figures reveal that 1.7 million people suffered a work-related illness in Britain last year.

The figures cover the 2020-21 period and include both new and long-standing illnesses. Of the 1.7 million cases, more than 800,000 were stress, depression or anxiety, and nearly 500,000 were musculoskeletal disorders.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that 93,000 people self-reported catching COVID-19 at work, with 52,000 of those working in the human health and social work sector.

These new figures were unveiled by the Health and Safety Executive this week.

They also highlighted that in same period 441,000 people sustained an injury at work, according to the Labour Force Survey.

Ryan Exley, of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), said:

“It is deeply concerning that so many people are suffering from ill health because of the work they do. Equally concerning is that there are still a large number of people being injured in workplace accidents, in addition to those who sadly lose their lives.

“What makes these figures even more poignant is that many of these instances of ill health, injuries and death are preventable. No one should be harmed by the work they do and everyone has a part to play in ensuring that is the case, whether it’s senior leaders and health and safety professionals implementing measures to prevent harm or other workers ensuring they adhere to these measures.

“We urge all businesses to constantly review how they manage health and safety risks to ensure their measures are proportionate and fit for purpose. This is of course particularly important with Covid-19 control measures given the current surge of cases, but they must not take their eye off the ball with other risks.”

IOSH has guidance available for businesses on how to manage risks relating to COVID-19, including preventing workplaces from becoming places of transmission, available here.

The Institution is also a world-leading developer of health and safety training courses, which support businesses in preventing work-related ill health and workplace accidents. More information can be found here.

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Marcus Boocock
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