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  • Lee Calver
  • 7 July 2015
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HSE releases annual workplace fatalities statistics

The HSE last week released its provisional annual data for work-related fatal accidents in Great Britain’s workplaces, revealing 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).

The results show 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.

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, Judith Hackitt, points out that every death is a tragedy:

“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. 

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. International Workplace will provide a report on this once the detailed assessment has been released.