46% of workers unaware of how to report an accident at work, new study finds

New research from personal injury lawyer Simpson Millar has found that 64% of workers have had an accident at work that has gone unreported. 

The data comes as in the last year, 561,000 people have suffered non-fatal injuries at work with, sadly, 135 reported fatalities at work in that same year. Given that the average person will spend 90,000 hours or 3,507 days in work, we must know how and whom to report accidents. The poll comes apparent as Simpson Millar spotted searches for ‘injury at work’ has spiked by 21% in the last three months, with a further 108% in searches for ‘accident at work solicitors’.

Simpson Millar polled workers to understand if they have had an accident and whether they reported it. We have also analysed data to reveal common times people may suffer from an accident at work, as well as which industries experience the most non-fatal and fatal injuries. 


64% of workers have had an accident at work which has gone unreported 

According to Simpson Millar’s data, almost two-thirds (64%) have experienced some form of accident at work (through the fault of their workplace) and it has gone unreported. Only 36% of workers have reported a workplace accident. 

Staggeringly, 31% stated that they had ‘never thought to report’ the accident. This statistic alone could mean that the 561,000 non-fatal injuries reported in the UK in the last year could be significantly higher, particularly if workers are choosing not to report accidents. 

There are many reasons that people may choose not to report an accident. One could be that the person is not aware they have sustained an injury at the time and, therefore, not reported it. In addition, workers could be unsure of how to accurately report an accident and choose to ignore it. 


46% of workers unaware of how to report an accident at work

Further to that, 46% of workers are unsure who to report an accident to, which could mean those workers decide not to report an accident which could impact their ability to seek the right support. More than a quarter (27%) also said that they know the department to reach out to if they have an accident, which highlights more needs to be done in the workplace to advise workers where to go and who to speak to when reporting an injury. 

These are the industries that have the highest number of non-fatal injuries 

When looking further into the data for the industries that experience the most non-fatal injuries, the results might surprise you. 

RankIndustryTotal number of reported non-fatal injuries to employees
1Human health and social work activities10,834
3Transportation and storage 8,059
4Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles6,873
7Accommodation and food service activities3,992
8Public administration and defence; compulsory social security3,405
9Information and communication; financial and insurance activities; real estate activities; professional, scientific and technical activities; administrative and support service activities2,616
10Arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities; activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods-and services-producing activities of households for own use; activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies2,598

Source: Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 


Human health and social workers are most likely to experience non-fatal injuries, with the highest number reported. They also have the highest number of injuries that are deemed as ‘over 7 days recovery time’. This is followed closely by the manufacturing industry. However, when looking at the most dangerous industries per 100,000, it’s agriculture that experiences the most. 

The agricultural industry has 246 non-fatal injuries per 100,000, compared to 59 in the health and social work industry. Workers within the water supply and waste management sector are second for non-fatal injuries per 100,000, with 216 accidents reported. 

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