Last week, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released their provisional statistics for the number of workers fatally injured in 2015/16.
The provisional number of work-related deaths for 2015-16 is 144, 7% lower than the five-year average of 155. Sadly the total is higher than last year’s finalised figure of 142. The total work-related deaths in both 2014-15 and 2015-16 equate to a rate of 0.46 deaths per 1000,000 workers.
The trend for work-related fatalities has reduced by more than half over the last 20 years although the rate at which the figures are dropping has leveled.
67 members of the public were fatally injured in accidents connected to work in 2015-16 (excluding incidents relating to railways, and those enforced by the Care Quality Commission).
The HSE has called on all sectors to learn lessons to ensure people go to work and return home safe. They are very much focused on further reducing work-related fatalities over the coming years.
One death at work or life needlessly shortened, is one too many and behind every statistic lies a real story of loss and heartbreak and families left to grieve.
Britain has one of the best health and safety systems in the world, but we should always be looking to improve and to prevent incidents that cost lives.
This year HSE travelled the country asking industry representatives, employers, unions, workers and others what they could do to help GB work well. The response was hugely encouraging and I would like to ask people to deliver on the commitments made, that will help keep Britain’s workers alive.
Martin Temple, HSE Chair
Main industry sector figures
In the UK construction industry, the number of workers killed while carrying out their jobs rose by almost a quarter in the last year.
43 workers died onsite in 2015-16 which is up from 35 worker deaths in the previous year. The number equals the five year average for the industry.
There were 27 fatal injuries to workers in agriculture, lower than the five year average of 32 and down from 36 in the previous year.
This is positive news for the agricultural industry which has just held its fourth annual Farm Safety Week. The Farm Safety Week initiative was launched in 2013 with the aim of increasing awareness of the hazards in farming and to reduce the number of accidents that gave agriculture the poorest record of any occupation in the UK and Ireland.
While we welcome the improvement in the number of fatalities, we are very mindful of the personal loss and tragedy that are involved in these figures.
What I find particularly depressing is that so many of these fatalities and accidents could be avoided. A quarter of the fatalities involve moving vehicles on farm. We are convinced that farmers and farm workers following some simple advice such as observing our safe stop recommendations could see these numbers fall even further.
It should also be noted that accidents and fatalities peak in the summer months. As we enter the summer period all farmers and farm workers should bear that in mind.
NFU Vice President Guy Smith quoted on NFU Online
In mining and quarrying two workers were killed, compared to an average of four deaths for the previous five years. There were six fatal injuries to workers in waste and recycling, compared to the five-year average of 7.
There were 27 fatal injuries to workers in manufacturing, 23% higher than the five-year average of 22. Within the period, there were three incidents in manufacturing that resulted in eight deaths which goes some way to explaining the higher than average fatalities.
Mesothelioma latest figures
HSE also released the latest available figures on deaths from asbestos-related cancer. Mesothelioma contracted through past exposure to asbestos killed 2,515 in the UK in 2014 compared to 2,556 in 2013.
Sources and more info
For the full provisional HSE figures and an explanation of how they can be interpreted visit their website www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/fatals.htm.
The figures for 2015/16 (1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016) are provisional and will be finalised in July 2017 following any necessary adjustments. A more detailed assessment of the data will be provided as part of the annual Health and Safety Statistics release in November 2016.
For more information on HSE’s Help GB Work Well Strategy view their PDF here: HSE Helping GB Work Well Strategy 2016.