Health and safety - fatal injuries at work at a record low

Greg Davies

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
9th July 2020

The number of fatalities figure had also plateaued in recent years with an average of approx. 143 from 2015/6 to 2018/9. The causes of these fatalities have largely remained predictable however, with the top five being:

  • Falls from height - 29;
  • Struck by moving vehicle - 20;
  • Struck by moving object - 18;
  • Trapped by something collapsing/overturning - 15; and
  • Contact with moving machinery - 11.

And this has been a relatively consistent picture over recent years.

While the majority of sectors showed welcome decreases in year on year numbers, construction increased by 3 fatalities (it was 37 fatalities in 2018/19). The initial sector analysis figures for 2019/20 were:

  • Construction – 40;
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing – 20;
  • Manufacturing 15 and;
  • Transport and Storage 11.

These fatality numbers however look slightly different from a “fatal injury rate” perspective though, in terms of the number of fatalities per 100,000 workers employed:

  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing at 5.96/100,000 workers;
  • Waste and Recycling with 4.57/100,000 workers and;
  • Construction 1.74/100,000 workers.

All are considerably higher than the “All Industry” average of 0.34/100.000 workers. How COVID-19 has and will affect these figures is yet to be seen and as the HSE point out:

“It is difficult to assess what impact the current COVID-19 pandemic has had on the annual number of deaths. Statistics on output of the UK economy show that COVID-19 had a large impact on output of the UK economy in March, but also anecdotal evidence of some small effects in February too. The number of workers killed at work was also lower in both these months compared to recent years though, in statistical terms, numbers are small and subject to fluctuation.”

What is true is that if the drop in the previous plateaued figures is to be sustained, as we come out of the pandemic, the increased visibility of what good health and safety is really about needs to be maintained.