It is hard to know how many that suffer from lung diseases because of their jobs, since you often get sick a long time afterwards. The UK Occupational Safety and Health Agency presents a comprehensive workplace survey that gives a hint on how common the problem is.
In Britain, approximately 12,000 deaths occur annually due to lung-related occupational diseases. It is not about deaths that occur in the workplace, but about those that happen many years later, maybe after leaving work life completely. These deaths are not published in the newspaper, they take place in silence. It is often difficult to link health risks earlier in work life with diseases that may occur 20-40 years later.
The UK Occupational Safety and Health Agency consists of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE is responsible for that existing laws are being followed. The main purpose is to prevent fatalities, accidents and bad health in the workplace.
The HSE conducts regular workplace investigations and now the report for 2017 has been presented.
Key figures from the survey
1.3 million workers suffer from work-related ill health.
12,000 lung disease deaths each year are estimated to be linked to past exposures at work.
609,000 workplace accidents.
137 deaths in the workplace.
31.2 million working days lost due to occupational disease and workplace injury.
Approximately £ 14.9 billion annual costs of workrelated injury and ill health in 2015/16, excluding long latency illness such as cancer.
18,000 new cases are reported annually. These are self-reported work-related respiratory or pulmonary problems.
Most occupational diseases can be prevented
The HSE believes that most occupational diseases could be prevented if we understood the risks better. Then better measures and solutions could be introduced, for example reducing concentrations of hazardous substances in the workplace and continuously checking and monitoring levels. In terms of information and education, it is important to focus on why it is important to reduce the risks and techniques that can be used.
Often, the best solution is a combination of actions - and to make sure they're really used.
Check the safety of your workplace
With our checklist you can clearly see which security routines that works well and where there are shortcomings that should be addressed.