Apprentices under threat from workplace injury A workman in a blue and red checked shirt is wearing an orange hi-vis vest and a blue safety helmet

New kids on the chopping block - apprentices under threat from workplace injury

  • 13,000 cases of non-fatal workplace injury to apprentices every year
  • Trainees less likely to take sick leave than full-time employees - but 73 per cent more likely to be involved in an accident
  • More than £800,000 issued in fines over workplace accidents involving apprentices over the past three years

London, 3rd January 2017: New analysis from small business insurer Direct Line for Business1 reveals apprentices are at greater risk of work-based injury than the average worker.

The analysis reveals 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.

Table One: Prevalence of self-reported injury and illness in apprentices compared to the overall workforce

Age group

Non-fatal injuries

Incidents of work-related illness

Total workforce

% of workforce affected by injury

% of workforce affected by illness

16-18 year olds






19+ year olds






All employees






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 said: “The data suggests that apprentices are keen to make the most of their opportunity, with much lower sickness rates than their full-time counterparts. 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 workplace injuries affecting apprentices or young employees, with the average fine standing at more than £26,000.

For further details on Direct Line for Business landlord insurance visit

Notes to Editors

1 Data request to the HSE made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in August 2016. Many of the incidents the HSE is responsible for are reported under the RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences) regulation. From the details collected under this reporting system, HSE is unable to specifically identify incidents broken down by employee type. For this reason, all mentions of “apprentices” in this press release apply to the broader category of young people aged 16-18 in employment (either full- or part-time). This is a categorisation made by Direct line for Business as a 'shorthand' to help explain the data, as these individuals are 'apprentices' in starting out on their careers, but this is distinct from HSE's strict definition of apprentices.

For further information please contact:

Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Antonia Green
Tel: 020 7282 2967

Direct Line for Business
Jade Trimbee
PR Manager
Tel: 01372 839 452
Mobile: 07825 315 931

Direct Line for Business

Launched in 2007 Direct Line for Business provides a range of insurance products for the small business sector direct by phone or on-line.

Direct Line for 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 for Business and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line for Business products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting

Public Liability Insurance Press Release

Last Updated: 03 Jan 2017