Unfortunate Events: Over a quarter of tradespeople seriously injured by workplace accident

  • 26 per cent of tradespeople say they’ve been seriously injured by a workplace accident during their career, while 57 per cent know someone else who’s suffered one
  • Over a third of tradespeople (36 per cent) were off work for one to three weeks, while more than one in five (22 per cent) were off for one to two months
  • Worryingly, nearly half of all tradespeople (49 per cent) do not have personal accident cover in place to protect them if they’re injured and can’t work
  • 693,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury in 2019/20 and 6.3 million working days were lost due to these accidents

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.1

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, 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”.

Direct Line’s Personal Accident cover provides tradespeople with 24/7 financial protection from injury – whether the accident happens at work or at home in their own time. And it’s not just tradespeople who can benefit – the insurance cover is available to all SMEs.

For more information about Direct Line business insurance’s Personal Accident cover, please visit our website:     


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

(2)    2020 Health and Safety Executive Report: https://www.hse.gov.uk/index.htm

For further information please contact:

Direct Line Group
Unni Henry
Senior PR Consultant
Tel: 07859 888026
Email: [email protected]

Michael Hindmarsh
Account Director
Mobile: 07415 396642
Email: [email protected]

About Direct Line business insurance

Launched in 2007 Direct Line business insurance now has over half a million customer policies, proving a flexible range of insurance products for the landlord, van and small business sectors.

Direct Line business insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line business insurance and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line business insurance products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting https://www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk