Workplace injuries significantly higher in food and drink

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

HSE's latest report showed food manufacturing injuries to be higher than the national average
HSE's latest report showed food manufacturing injuries to be higher than the national average

Related tags health & safety

Workplace injuries in the food and drink manufacturing sector were significantly higher than the national average, according to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) latest figures.

The Health and Safety at Work Summary Statistics for Great Britain 2020 report includes statistics for work-related ill health, workplace injuries, working days lost, enforcement action taken and the associated costs to Great Britain.

Musculoskeletal disorders continued to be the most reported cause of worker ill-health in manufacturing (41%). Food and drink processors reported 1.3% of total cases in the UK – below Metallic manufacturing (1.7%) and manufacturers of transport and transport products (1.4%).

Work-related stress

Food and drink also reported the highest number of work-related cases of stress, depression or anxiety compared to other manufacturing sectors – 1.4% of cases.

Non-fatal injuries accounted for 2.8% of instances of workplace injuries in 2019/20. Over the past five years, incidents involving lifting and carrying accounted for 26% of seven-day injuries, while slips, trips and falls made up 36% of specified injuries.

Manufacturers of food products also reported the highest number of cases of occupational asthma between 2009 and 2018, followed by manufacturers of vehicles and manufacturers of chemicals and chemical products.

Despite the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, HSE did not identify COVID-19 as a main driver of changes in the 2019-2020 data.


However, the pandemic had helped to focus attention on the health and safety issues people face in the workplace, according to HSE chair Sarah Newton.

She added: “The HSE remains committed to taking action where workers are not protected, to ensure the guidance and assistance we provide for employers in managing risks is the best available, based on the latest evidence and science.

“Although Great Britain continues to be up there with the safest places in the world to work, these figures highlight the scale of the challenge HSE currently faces in making Britain an even healthier and safer place to work, this includes our role in the response to the pandemic to ensure workplaces are COVID secure.”

Related topics People & Skills COVID-19

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