Personal Injury

Which UK jobs are worst for your health? The workplaces with highest levels of accidents and stress

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Jane Woodcock

Consultant Lawyer

5 min read time
31 Jan 2022

The pandemic has radically altered the way we work, whether that’s been a shift to working from home or, if you’re an NHS frontline worker, coping with increased responsibility. It has also had an impact on occupational accidents and stress.

The latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveal that while occupational deaths and accidents dropped during the pandemic, work related anxiety increased. In 2020/21 there were 142 deaths at work reported in the UK and 441,000 workers were injured. The most dangerous jobs continue to be:

  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • Waste and recycling
  • Construction
  • Accommodation and food service activities
  • Wholesale and retail trade, including motor vehicle repair

Most fatal accidents at work are due to falls from a height and being struck by a moving vehicle or by a moving object. The areas of England with highest number of fatal injuries in 2020/21 were:

  • South West – 23 deaths
  • Yorkshire & The Humber – 18
  • North West – 16
  • West Midlands – 15
  • South East – 15

Workplace Injury

The number of workplace injuries fell during the pandemic although 441,000 workers experienced an accident due to:

  • Slips, trips or falls – 33%
  • Handling, lifting or carrying – 18%
  • Struck by moving object – 10%
  • Acts of violence – 8%
  • Falls from a height – 8%

Accident at Work

One client we recently supported was hit by a gas cylinder which “flew like a missile” across his Hull based factory floor. Karl Lusby suffered a broken tibia and fibula and extensive nerve and tissue damage and required reconstructive surgery. Our experts at Hudgell Solicitors helped secure him a six-figure settlement.

Read more: Six-figure damages for man left with serious leg injury when hit by flying gas cylinder

Another client broke both his heels when he fell from a ladder. The roofer from Hull was awarded a “significant damages settlement” after being left needing crutches to walk. As part of the legal claim led on his behalf by Hudgell Solicitors, it was alleged he had been put at risk by inadequate safety standards on the work site.

Read more: Substantial damages for roofer left unable to work

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders

Manual handling, awkward or tiring positions and keyboard work or repetitive action were estimated to be the main causes of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, such as back and repetitive strain injuries. Last year in the UK 470,000 workers said they suffered from work related musculoskeletal disorders

Occupational lung diseases

Occupational lung diseases are falling but there are still thousands of deaths each year in the UK linked to past exposure at work. There were 2,369 deaths in 2019 from mesothelioma, with a similar number of lung cancer deaths linked to past exposures to asbestos.

Colin Harper

We recently supported a widow whose husband died of mesothelioma. Colin Harper had worked as an air conditioning engineer, after a period of chemotherapy treatment, he passed away, aged 63, in 2018. Hudgell Solicitors secured a settlement for his widow without any defendant admitting liability.

Read more: Widow received £330,000 following husband’s death from mesothelioma linked to asbestos exposure


The HSE says the pandemic has had an impact on the number of prosecutions and notices issued against employers although the average fine per case has increased from £107,000 to £145,000.

Work-related stress, depression and anxiety

Perhaps unsurprisingly reported cases of work-related stress has seen an upturn during the pandemic. Workload, lack of support, violence, threats or bullying and work changes were reported as the main causes along with the coronavirus as a major contributor. The workplaces with the highest average rates of stress, depression and anxiety reported in 2020/21 are:

  • Human health and social work
  • Public administration and defence
  • Education

Compensation claims

Many people worry that seeking injury at work compensation from their employer could lead to them being treated differently or perhaps even being sacked. However, if the employer was clearly at fault for the injuries suffered, this is not an action they are likely to take.

One client Hudgell Solicitors recently represented was a manual worker who had his arm amputated following a work accident. An investigation found his employers had failed to provide suitable equipment to protect workers. He was awarded £2million and remains working for the same firm.

Read more: Worker receives £2m after accident at work leads to amputation

Our team at Hudgell Solicitors has experience of handling a wide range of accidents at work – including falls and faulty equipment, unsafe work practices and failure to provide adequate training.

Many people wrongly believe that they must still be working for their employer to be able to make an accident at work claim against them, but this is not the case. Many claims are initiated once an employee has left a business.

There is also a three-year time limit from the date of the workplace accident for a claimant to initiate court proceedings.

Read More: The five myths preventing people from claiming compensation after an accident at work

How to Make a No Win, No Fee Accident at Work Claim

Accidents in the workplace can be devastating for those involved, from the trauma of the incident itself to ongoing treatment or financial worries. Being able to claim for an accident at work can mean helping to get your life back on track and reimbursing you for lost income and expenses.

The first step is to get in touch with us using our online claim form. One of our team of expert injury at work solicitors can conduct a free, no-obligation consultation with you to discuss the circumstances of your case and the typical accident at work procedure.

They will discuss with you the details of what has happened and ask questions to establish if a claim can be made. This information you share with us is always treated as highly confidential and only used by our lawyers in connection with your work injury claim.

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Which UK jobs are worst for your health? The workplaces with highest levels of accidents and stress

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