• GL
Choose your location?
  • Global Global
  • Australian flag Australia
  • French flag France
  • German flag Germany
  • Irish flag Ireland
  • Italian flag Italy
  • Polish flag Poland
  • Qatar flag Qatar
  • Spanish flag Spain
  • UAE flag UAE
  • UK flag UK

HSE statistics reveal that work related stress is taking its toll on Britain's workforce

31 January 2024
In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace, the well-being of employees is increasingly under the spotlight. We take a closer look at the recently released statistics from the HSE for the 2022/2023 period and have summarised the key findings below. 

The numbers tell the tale

The data paints a stark picture. In 2022/23, 1.8 million workers reported experiencing work-related ill health – with approximately half attributing their conditions to stress, depression, or anxiety. This represents a noteworthy surge compared to pre-pandemic levels, when the rate of self-reported work-related ill health had remained relatively stable. The current figures are higher than those recorded in 2018/19, suggesting a growing challenge in maintaining the mental health of the workforce, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stress, depression, and anxiety take centre stage

Delving deeper into the statistics, it becomes evident that stress, depression, and anxiety are major contributors to the overall increase in work-related ill health. An alarming 875,000 cases were reported in 2022/23. Whilst this is slightly lower than the 2021/22 figure of 914,000 cases it is still a significant increase from the period pre-pandemic.

Lost days, lost productivity

Beyond the personal toll on employees, the ripple effect of work-related stress, depression, and anxiety extends to the broader economy. An estimated 35.2 million working days were lost in 2022/23 due to self-reported work-related ill health or injury. This not only represents a significant human cost of work-related illness, but also the financial cost.

What can employers do about mental health?

Regardless of the size of your organisation, the law requires you, as an employer, to prevent work related stress and support good mental health in the workplace.

By prioritising employee well-being, fostering a culture that supports mental health and providing resources to cope with the demands of modern working life – you can help to improve the overall health and well-being of your employees and also seek to reduce the costs associated with the loss of working days.

The HSE's Working Minds campaign is a great place to start for information about how you can drive change across your work place and support people with mental health conditions. 

It's not just mental health…

Despite the UK being one of the safest places on earth to work, workplace injuries are still significant, with 561,000 workers sustaining non-fatal workplace injuries in 2022/23. Nearly a third of these accidents were as a result of slips, trips or falls, but accidents arising from handling, lifting or carrying, and individuals being struck by moving objects also considerably contributed to the figures.

On top of this, 135 workers were killed in workplace related accidents in 2022/23. A review of the statistics revealed that the construction industry continues to account for the greatest number of workers killed in fatal accidents, with a third of workplace deaths occurring in this sector.

Falls from height remain the most common kind of fatal accident in 2022/23, re-enforcing again the need for enhanced safety measures to mitigate risks associated with working on elevated levels.


The rising tide of work-related stress, depression and anxiety in Great Britain's work places requires action from employers. As the workforce faces unprecedented challenges, a proactive approach to mental health in the workplace is essential.

However, as demonstrated by the statistics surrounding the number of fatal and non-fatal accidents, employers must continue to be aware of their legal duties to ensure the physical safety of their employees.

DWF's Regulatory, Compliance and Investigations team has has a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with Health and Safety matters and can advise on work related fatalities and asbestos related queries. We also offer a crisis response service and experienced team of lawyers, PR specialists, investigators and clinical psychologists are available 24/7 to offer advice in the immediate aftermath of an incident and to guide you through your crisis.

If you have any questions, please reach out to our authors below.

We would like to thank Shaun Marshall & Charlotte Miles for their contribution to this article.

Further Reading