Apprentices more likely to suffer workplace injury than full time employees

Apprentices are more likely to have an injury at work than the average full time worker, a new study reveals.

Apprentices are at greater risk of workplace injury than the average worker, new analysis from small business insurer Direct Line for Business reveals.

The analysis shows that there are an average of 13,000 cases of non-fatal injuries among employees aged 16-18 every year, accounting for 3.6 per cent of all workers in this age group. Across the entire workforce there are some 649,000 non-fatal injuries each year, affecting 2.1 per cent of all employees.

This means that, while apprentices only account for one in 50 accidents, they are 73 per cent more likely to be involved in an incident due to the smaller number of apprentices in employment.

However, the average of 6,000 incidences of work-related illness every year among young employees, affecting 1.6 per cent of all young workers, is much lower than the 3.9 per cent recorded amongst workers aged 19 or over. This analysis suggests apprentices are much less likely to report illness to their employer whilst on placement.

The data also estimates that some 75,000 working days are lost every year by apprentices, averaging out to around one day lost for every five apprentices. Across the entire workforce an estimated 28.3 million working days are lost every year, averaging out at just under a day for every worker.

Nick Breton, head of Direct Line for Business, thinks that apprentices are keen to make the most of their opportunity, with much lower sickness rates than their full-time counterparts.

Breton adds, ‘However, the research indicates that apprentices are at greater risk of injury in the workplace so it is therefore vital for employers to have the right safety and training procedures in place to help ensure younger employees are aware of any risks.

‘Work related illnesses such as respiratory disease, stress and pain in the body’s joints can also be avoided so it is vital for employers to have the right health and safety measures in place to reduce the number of people affected.’

Over the past three years a total of £815,960 has been issued in fines to businesses as a result of a workplace injury affecting apprentices or young employees, with the average fine standing at more than £26,000.

Further reading on hiring an apprentice

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the