Are Fatal Injuries at Work on the Rise in the UK?

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Injuries and accidents happen at work all the time.

When we blogged about Britain’s Health & Safety Statistics for 2016-17 at the end of last year, we found that 70,116 injuries were sustained by workers and reported by their employer. The real number is perhaps higher, however, how many of these injuries were fatal?

If someone dies at work in the UK then it can often be big news in the area but is it common? In this weeks’ blog, we are going to look at fatal injuries at work in Britain, what sectors it is more likely to happen in and how the UK compares to other countries.

How many fatal injuries were there in 2016-17?

According to the Fatal injuries arising from accidents at work in Great Britain 2017 report that was produced by the Health & Safety Executive, there were 137 deaths due to injuries sustained at work in the UK. In 2015-16 there were 147 deaths at work so there has actually been a reduction in 2016-17.

The main causes of the fatalities were by a moving vehicle (31), 25 as a result of falls from height and 20 due to being struck by a moving object.

92 members of the public were also killed as a result of work activities in the UK.

What were the worst sectors for fatal injuries?

We can analyse each sector by two different methods.

Firstly, we can break it down by the number of fatalities each sector suffered in relation to the total amount of people killed at work. The construction and agricultural sectors performed the worst as they accounted for 57 deaths in 2016-17 although the construction industry saw their lowest ever number of workers killed (30).

The second method is breaking down each sector in terms of fatalities per 100,000 workers that are employed. In this model, agriculture and waste and recycling come out worst and the number of workers killed in the waste and recycling sector almost doubled as an average from the previous 5 years.

How does the UK compare to other countries?

You may remember our blog about the best countries for workplace safety in the EU but how does the UK fare in terms of fatalities to other countries?

The UK has always had one of the lowest fatality rates at work compared to other EU countries. At 0.55 per 100,000 employees, this is considerably better than Germany (0.81), France (3.14) and Spain (1.47).

While each member state may have different ways of reporting, these statistics are based on the industry standardised incidence rates by Eurostat.

Read the Full Report for Yourself

Fatalities in the UK workplace are decreasing.

In 1981, there were 496 deaths at work in the UK and 1997 this figure stood at 287. There is still work to be done to ensure a safer environment for everyone but the statistics are moving in the right direction.

You can read the full Fatal injuries arising from accidents at work in Great Britain 2017 report here.

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