The number of people suffering from a work-related illnesses is on the rise, according to UK-wide health and safety statistics.

Annual figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that 1.3 million people suffered a workplace illness in 2015/16, an increase of 100,000 on the previous year.

Industrial illnesses such as occupational asthma, chemical poisoning and hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), were also are estimated to have costed the UK £9.3 billion in 2014/15 as a result of nearly 26 million lost working days.

The figures also revealed that in the past year, over 620,000 workers suffered an injury and a shocking 144 workplace fatalities were reported. The most common cause of death was a fall from height, while injuries were often the result of heavy lifting as well as slips, trips and falls.

The new statistics showed that in 2014 there were 2,515 deaths caused by the fatal asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma, a tragic toll which is predicted to continue for years to come.

Anna Konzon, a senior industrial disease solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Alongside our trade union partners we’ve long campaigned for improved health and safety standards so it’s frustrating to see that the number of people suffering from a work-related illness is on the rise.

“Exposure to dangerous substances and machinery can leave workers with long-term conditions and in many cases can be fatal.

“Thanks to campaigning by the unions and others, the UK has seen vast improvement in workplace health and safety. These results are a sad reminder of how important it is that workers’ safety remains a top priority for employers across the country.”