Work-related illness costing the economy £9bn

Bosses don't think flu is a good enough reason to call in sick

Some 26 million working days are being lost due to work-related ill health, costing over £9 billion to the economy, according to research by the Health and Safety Executive.

At the same time, almost half of Britain’s industry leaders do not feel enough is being done across industry to tackle the problem, with the study also showing that more than two-fifths of businesses reporting a rise in cases of long-term ill-health. And 80% say that tackling this growing problem is a priority within their organisation.

The views of 300 major business leaders were sought and 40% of respondents said their industry was not doing enough to raise awareness and tackle the causes of long-term work-related ill-health.

The findings were revealed as HSE announced its new national campaign – ‘Go Home Healthy’. The campaign aims to reduce cases of work-related ill-health by shining a light on the causes and encouraging employers to do the right thing to protect their workers’ health.

“Everyone should want to have a healthy and safe environment at work,” said Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work Penny Mordaunt. “Work-related ill-health is a costly issue for individuals, businesses, and the whole economy. This campaign will encourage employers to operate healthier workplaces and ensure workers get the support that they need.”

HSE’s chair Martin Temple added: “The survey findings confirmed what we already suspected – more needs to be done to tackle work-related ill-health.

“Over the years, figures show that as workplace safety has improved, health has stagnated. The ‘Go Home Healthy’ campaign is about driving behavioural change in workplaces so we all can go home healthy. There is a moral, legal, and business case for employers to do the right thing by their workers. The importance of more joined-up thinking across industries when it comes to tackling work-related ill-health cannot be overstated.”

More information on the campaign can be found at