News

New report shows UK workplace fatalities figures largely unchanged

The number of workplace fatalities in the UK remains largely unchanged from last year, the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) reported today.

The HSE has released provisional data from April 2011 to March 2012 that indicates a workplace fatality total of 173 persons, two fewer than last year. The fatal injuries rate remains the same at 0.6 per 100,000 workers.

There were five fatal injuries this year to waste and recycling workers, continuing the downward trend from nine deaths last year and a five-year average of six deaths per year.

Though incremental in decrease, the HSE says these statistics are part of a positive trend: “Britain continues to have one of the lowest levels of workplace fatal injuries in Europe, part of a long-term downward trend”, said Judith Hackitt, the HSE Chair.

Britain has the lowest rate of fatal injuries to workers among top European industrial nations including Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

Even so, Hackitt says: “we must not forget that these are lives cut short, not statistics – every one of these deaths will have caused terrible grief and anguish for family and friends as well as workmates and colleagues. This is the real tragedy of health and safety failures – lives cut short and loved ones lost.”

“We want employers to focus on the real risk that continue to cause death and serious injury”, Hackitt added.

The HSE report found that fatality figures among key industrial sectors included:

  • 49 fatal injuries to construction workers (2.3 deaths per 100,000 workers) - down from 50 deaths recorded in 2010/11. Average of 59 deaths per year over the past five years.
  • 33 fatal injuries to agriculture workers – (9.7 deaths per 100,000 workers) – up from 30 deaths in 2010/1. Average of 35 deaths per year over the past five years.
  • Five fatal injuries to waste and recycling workers – (4.1 deaths per 100,000 workers) – down from nine deaths in 2010/11. Average of six deaths per year over the past five years.

National workplace fatality figures included:

  • 130 fatal injuries in England (0.5 deaths per 100,000 workers) – up from 146 in 2010/11. Average of 157 deaths per year over the past five years.
  • 20 fatal injuries in Scotland (0.8 deaths per 100,000 workers) – up from 14 deaths in 2010/11. Average of 25 deaths per year over the past five years.
  • 18 fatal injuries in Wales (1.4 deaths per 100,000 workers) – up from 11 deaths recorded in 2010/11. Average of 11 deaths per year over the past five years.

Overall workplace-related fatalities are down from 175 in 2010/11 to 173 in 2011/2012.

Data from the HSE report for 2011/12 is provisional and will be finalised in July 2013.

The provisional report can be found on the HSE website.