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Injury time for British workers

Nearly a quarter of Brits (24%) have injured themselves in the workplace

Posted on 23 Oct 2015

  • More than a third (34%) say their workplace injury required medical attention – nearly one in 10 (8%) say their injury required surgery
  • More than one in 10 (12%) Brits say they have heard of someone who has died doing their job
  • HSE data obtained via FOI reveals 1,025 people have died in work since 20081
  • Construction is the most dangerous industry to work in with 319 deaths recorded since 2008

The working world is a place often bound by strict health and safety procedures and legislation to prevent danger. But new research from has found that, despite this, nearly a quarter (24%) of Brits say they have injured themselves in the work place.

The findings from the leading price comparison website reveal that of those who have suffered an injury in the workplace, more than a third (34%) say it required medical attention while, worryingly, nearly one in 10 (8%) say their injury required surgery. For some, the consequences have been even more serious, with more than one in 20 (6%) admitting that their injury was life changing.

When it comes to workplace injuries, the most common incident involves people cutting themselves (44%), while more than a fifth (22%) say they have sprained a joint while in work. Other injuries include people burning themselves (14%) and some (11%) were even unlucky enough to break a bone.

When it comes to the causes of these injuries, more than one in 10 (11%) say they tripped over equipment; while one in 10 (10%) say they walked into something or injured themselves on machinery (9%). Other reasons for injury include2:

  • Being run over by a forklift truck
  • Stapling their own thumb
  • Being assaulted by an offender during an arrest

Perhaps surprisingly, those working in hair and beauty are the joint most likely to have injured themselves in the workplace (50%) closely followed by someone working in a trade such as electrician or plumber (47%). Those working in law enforcement (46%) are the third most likely to have injured themselves in the workplace.

Whilst many are injuring themselves, or seeing others injured (24%), for some, the situation is much more dire. Unfortunately, more than one in 10 Brits (12%) say they have heard of someone who has died whilst doing their job. And since 2008, according to HSE data obtained via FOI for, 1,025 people have died while carrying out their job, an average of 140 people a year. This means, on average, 2.7 workers die per week as a result of workplace fatalities.

The most dangerous profession is construction with nearly a third of all workplace deaths (31%) occurring in this industry3 – this equates to 319 people. The second most dangerous is the services industry which accounts for 23% of all workplace deaths closely followed by agriculture (21%).

These figures go against what many Brits believe is the most dangerous job – with two thirds (66%) saying they believe firefighters or those in the Armed Forces have the most perilous professions in the UK. Just half of Brits (50%) identified construction as the most dangerous profession to work in.

When it comes to professions, those working in Law Enforcement are the most likely to say their working environment is dangerous (59%). Those who are employed in a trade such as electrician or plumber (53%) are the next most likely to claim their working environment can cause danger. And though people struggle to identify the most dangerous profession, more than a quarter (26%) of Brits say they consider their working environment to be dangerous.

And with nearly half of Brits (48%) saying they are the main financial provider for their family, it’s worrying to note that two in five (40%) of employed Brits who have injured themselves at work say they have been left unable to work because of that injury. Of those who were left unable to work, nearly one in 20 (4%) said they were off work for 28 weeks or more – the upper limit for statutory sick pay.

Worryingly, more than half of Brits (55%) say they don’t have a life insurance policy. But with so many Brits working in dangerous environments, it might be time for people to start thinking about cover.

And though life insurance policies start from £5 a month4, those working in dangerous professions can expect to pay a little more. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those working in the SAS could expect to pay the most for their life insurance – a policy may cost them £116 extra a month5. The next most expensive profession to insure is for those working in the Armed Forces Bomb Disposal team – cover could cost them £59 extra a month.

Jessica Willock, head of life insurance at, says:

“The working world is a dangerous place for many Brits and it’s worrying to see so many people suffering injuries in the workplace. There are many industries out there where you may expect injury to be commonplace but the fact that so many people were injured working in hair and beauty shows that injuries can occur in any working environment.

“What’s even more worrying is just how many people have died over the past seven years while carrying out their job. This goes to show how unpredictable life can be – and with nearly half (47%) saying they are the main financial earner in their household, families could be left struggling should the worst happen.”


Notes to Editors

Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll research on behalf of This was an online poll of 2,000 employed adults in the UK. The research was conducted between 28th September and 1st October 2015.

1 issued an FOI request to the HSE that asked:

For the most recent period, and historically (as far back as is possible by year) injury and death statistics by occupation, categorised through the SOC 2010 classification system. Please break down the information into sub-categories e.g. Professional Occupations, Natural and Social Science Professionals, Chemical Scientists. We received data from April 2008 – July 2015

2. Survey respondents were asked ‘Thinking about your most recent workplace injury, how did it happen?’ and these answers were taken from the free text section.

3. Data taken from HSE figures obtained via FOI request

4. Price based on a non-smoking 26 year old insured over 25 years for £100,000 of cover on a decreasing term policy, postcode CF10 1PZ. Prices correct on 16.10.15

5. Data taken from insurers on panel based on life insurance policy offering £100,000 worth of cover.

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Launched in 2002, was the UK's first price comparison site for car insurance and is one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services, generating over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the last couple of years to include small van insurance, motorcycle insurance, car buying and selling, and car finance, as well as a number of tools designed to save drivers money on motoring. is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides an objective and unbiased comparison service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more.’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators. is owned by the Admiral Group plc. Admiral listed on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004. is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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