Updated Stress Statistics

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently published statistics relating to work related stress which shows that this is still one of the top causes of sickness absence in the UK.[i]

More widely, the HSE revealed that for the year 2015/16:

  • 1.3 million working people suffering from a work-related illness
  • 2,515 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2014)
  • 144 workers killed at work
  • 72,702 other injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 621,000 injuries occurred at work according to the Labour Force Survey
  • 30.4 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
  • £14.1 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2014/15)

According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), reported by the HSE, the total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1510 per 100,000 workers. The number of new cases was 224,000, an incidence rate of 690 per 100,000 workers. The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2015/16 was 11.7 million days. This equated to an average of 23.9 days lost per case. Working days lost per worker showed a generally downward trend up to around 2009/10; since then the rate has been broadly flat.

The statistics also showed prevalence according to industry with stress being more likely in the public service industries, such as education; health and social care and public administration and defence. By occupation, jobs that are common across public service industries (such as healthcare workers; teaching professionals; business, media and public service professionals) show higher levels of stress as compared to all jobs.

The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work related stress, depression or anxiety were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support. The general practitioners network (THOR-GP 2012-2014) identified an analysis of work related mental ill health cases by precipitating events and diagnosis. They concluded that workload pressures were the predominant factor, in agreement with the LFS, with interpersonal relationships at work and changes at work significant factors also.

These statistics show that work related stress, depression and anxiety, continue to represent a significant ill health condition in the workforce of the UK with it accounting for 37% of work related ill health and 45% of days lost, in 2015/2016.

[i] Health and Safety Executive, ‘Work Related Stress, Anxiety and Depression Statistics in Great Britain 2016’ (HSE)< http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress/stress.pdf?pdf=stress> accessed 8 December 2016.