Research shows quarter of tradespeople injured at work

23 February 2021

OVER A quarter of UK tradespeople (26 per cent) say they’ve experienced a serious injury from a workplace accident during their career, while over half (57 per cent) know someone who has, according to new research by Direct Line business insurance.

In 2019-20, 693,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury, leading to 6.3 million working days lost, according to the Health and Safety Executive 2020 Report.2 The annual cost of these accidents in lost income is eye-watering - an incredible £5.6 billion according to 2018/19 estimates, demonstrating an urgent need for businesses to protect their tradespeople against financial losses as the result of injury. 

Nearly half (49 per cent)1 do not have personal accident cover in place, while more than one in ten (13 per cent) don’t have the Personal Accident cover and do not intend to take active steps towards taking a policy out in future, such as raising the matter with their employer. Twenty-seven per cent say this is because they aren’t prone to accidents, despite the alarming frequency of injuries revealed by the research. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) have never even heard of it. 

This is concerning given that over one third (36 per cent) of those who suffered a serious injury were off work for one to three weeks following the accident, while more than one fifth (22 per cent) were unable to work for between one and two months. In 2019/20, an alarming 525,000 injuries resulted in absences of up to seven days. This further underlines the risk workplace accidents pose to tradespeople’s livelihoods during an uncertain economic climate. 

The following workplace accidents were the most common in 2019/20:

  • Slips, trips or falls on the same level (29 per cent)
  • Handling, lifting, or carrying (19 per cent)
  • Struck by a moving object (11 per cent)
  • Acts of violence (nine per cent)
  • Falls from a height (eight per cent)

Jane Morgan product manager at Direct Line said, “With the rollout of vaccines underway, the future holds promise for tradespeople. But these statistics show the heavy toll that workplace accidents can take, not just on tradespeople’s physical health, but on their wallets too. 

“With the annual cost of workplace injury so high, it’s vital that more tradespeople consider taking out insurance to protect themselves financially in the event of an accident.

“At Direct Line, we recognise the impact workplace accidents can have on tradespeople’s livelihoods. And when it comes to giving them the comprehensive protection they need, we’re on it”.

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1 Opinium survey of 285 UK tradespeople , conducted 5th-7th January 2021

2 2020 Health and Safety Executive Report: