The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the national independent watchdog for health, safety and illness in the workplace. As well as regulating and enforcing health and safety laws in the UK, it also works to produce legislation protecting workers and offering advice to businesses on the health and safety of their workplace with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of work-related deaths and serious injuries across Great Britain’s workplaces.

As part of this, the HSE produces statistics on work-related accidents and on 1st July, it published provisional annual data on workplace fatalities for the last 12 months (between April 2014 and March 2015).

Work-place fatalities are tragic and largely avoidable – although some industries are inherently more dangerous than others. The good news is that the recent workplace data shows only small changes from previous years’ statistics, demonstrating that the UK is sustaining a longer term trend with the rates of fatalities more than halving over the past 20 years.

Fatal workplace accidents – the statistics

  • 142 workers were fatally injured at work between April 2014 and March 2015 (a rate of 0.46 fatalities per 100,000 workers).
  • The statistics confirm that the UK is one of the safest places to work in Europe – we have one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries in leading industrial nations.
  • 35 fatal injuries were recorded among construction workers. This compares to an average of 45 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from 44 deaths in 2013/14.
  • In agriculture, 33 deaths were recorded – the same as is average for the past five years. However this was an increase from the 27 recorded deaths in 2013/14.
  • 5 fatal injuries were recorded among waste and recycling workers compared to an average of 6 deaths in the past 5 years and an increase from 4 deaths recorded in 2013/14
  • Asbestos related cancer is also responsible for a large number of deaths – there were 2,538 killed by this disease in 2013 compared to 2,548 in 2012. The increase in Mesothelioma deaths in recent years has been mainly attributed to deaths among those aged 75 or over.

The decline in fatalities in most industries is encouraging – demonstrating that the UK remains dedicated to improving safety statistics by maintaining excellent health and safety measures in the workplace. However, Judith Hackitt, the HSE’s Chair was keen to point out that every single death is tragic, saying, “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.”

Further details will be provided as part of the annual Health and Safety Statistics release in October, based on more in-depth analysis from the HSE.

At Freeclaim Solicitors, we have handled many cases pertaining to fatalities at work and serious work injuries. We fully support any actions which improve health and safety and which will in turn, prevent serious, life-changing and tragic accidents and illnesses.

If a loved one has sustained a fatal injury or serious injury in the workplace, we can offer essential support and guidance at this difficult time. We will handle all aspects of the case, providing compassionate understanding. We will fight to gain justice for your loved one and vital funds which will provide for you and your family in the future. For free and confidential advice, call us today on 0800 612 7340.