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Workplace fatalities

Posted: Tuesday 7th, July 2015

HSE releases annual workplace fatalities

Date: 1 July 2015

Provisional annual data for work-related fatal accidents in Great Britain’s
workplaces shows small change from previous years, sustaining a long term trend
that has seen the rate of fatalities more than halve over the last 20 years.

Provisional annual data released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
reveals 142 workers were fatally injured at work between April 2014 and March
2015 (a rate of 0.46 fatalities per 100,000 workers). This compares to last year’s
all-time low of 136 (0.45 fatalities per 100,000 workers). Fatal injuries at work are
thankfully rare events and as a consequence, the annual figures are subject to
chance variation.

The statistics again confirm the UK to be one of the safest places to work in
Europe, having one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers in leading
industrial nations.

However, HSE’s Chair points out that every death is a tragedy. Judith Hackitt said:
“It is disappointing last year’s performance on fatal injuries has not been matched,
but the trend continues to be one of improvement. Our systems and our framework
remain strong as demonstrated by our performance in comparison to other
countries.

“Every fatality is a tragic event and our commitment to preventing loss of life in the
workplace remains unaltered. All workplace fatalities drive HSE to develop even
more effective interventions to reduce death, injury and ill health.”

The new figures show the rate of fatal injuries in several key industrial sectors:

35 fatal injuries to construction workers were recorded – a rate of 1.62 deaths per
100,000 workers, compared to an average of 45 deaths in the past five years and
a decrease from the 44 deaths recorded in 2013/14.
33 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded – a rate 9.12 deaths per
100,000 workers, the same as the average of 33 deaths in the past five years and
an increase from the 27 deaths recorded in 2013/14.
Five fatal injuries to waste and recycling workers were recorded – a rate of 4.31
deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to an average of six deaths in the past five
years and an increase from the four deaths recorded in 2013/14.
The published statistics also include a breakdown by country and region. These
are strongly influenced by variations in the mix of industries and occupations. For
example in Scotland and Wales compared to England, there are noticeably fewer
employees in lower-risk occupational groups, with relatively more in higher-risk
ones. In addition, the number of fatalities in some regions is relatively small, hence
susceptible to considerable variation.

HSE has also released the latest available figures on deaths from asbestos-related
cancer. Mesothelioma, one of the few work related diseases where deaths can be
counted directly, contracted through past exposure to asbestos killed 2,538 in
Great Britain in 2013 compared to 2,548 in 2012.

A more detailed assessment of the data will be provided as part of the annual
Health and Safety Statistics release at the end of October. As this draws on HSE’s
full range of sources, including changes in non-fatal injuries and health trends, and
will provide a richer picture on trends

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