This indicator measures the prevalence of self-reported illness caused or made worse by work for people working in the previous 12 months.


The data for this indicator are gathered through the Labour Force Survey (LFS).  The LFS is a survey of households living at private addresses in the UK. It has a sample size of approximately 35,000 private households in Great Britain, along with around 2,500 households in Northern Ireland. Data is published monthly on a rolling 3-month basis with a gap of 6 weeks between the end of the survey period and the release of data e.g. data gathered from January to March is published in mid-May.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) commissions annual questions in the LFS, which are asked during the January to March survey period only, to gain a view of work-related illness and workplace injury based on individuals’ perceptions. The analysis of these data presented in the tables is the sole responsibility of HSE:

The measurement is based on the prevalence of work-related illness amongst those who have worked in the previous 12 months and is calculated as a 3-year average to provide estimates which can be considered as more robust than those for a single year.

The current confidence interval around the estimate from the LFS is ±485 cases per 100,000 employed in the last 12 months.


Employment: To be classed as being in employment, a person aged 16 and over must do at least one hour of paid work in the week prior to their LFS interview or have a job that they are temporarily away from (e.g. by being on holiday or off sick).

Self-reported work-related illness: People who have conditions which they think have been caused or made worse by their current or past work, as estimated from the LFS. Prevalence includes long-standing as well as new cases. Estimates are based on the most serious work-related illness, as defined by the individual, if they have more than one.

Changes and issues

Previously published estimates which used data for 2019/20 were revised in December 2021. The reason for this revision was the reweighting of Labour Force Survey (LFS) quarterly data sets from Jan-Mar 2020 through to Jan-Mar 2021. At the time that these datasets were originally released, survey responses were weighted to 2018-based official population projections and therefore reflected demographic trends which pre-dated the COVID-19 pandemic. These estimates have now been reweighted to new populations using growth rates from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Real Time Information to better reflect changes in international migration and other impacts as a result of the pandemic. Further information on this reweighting can be found at:

Criteria for Change

This evaluation is based on any statistically significant difference between the sample based estimates for the current reporting period and the previous reporting period. The difference between these two estimates can be described as statistically significant if there is a less than 5% chance that this difference is due to sampling error.

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