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Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain 2018

06 July 2018

The latest Health & Safety Executive fatal injury statistics show that 144  workers were killed in the UK over 2017/18.  This compares with 274 twenty years ago (1997/98) and 495 in 1981. These statistics are from RIDDOR - Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.

The 144 fatal injuries in 2017/18 represents an increase of 9 fatalities from 2016/17, however, according to the HSE, it is possible that this change can be explained by natural variation in the figures.  In statistical terms the number of fatalities has remained broadly level in recent years – the average annual number of workers killed at work over the five years 2013/14-2017/18 is 141. 

The number of fatal injuries by main industry group, 2017/18 (and annual average for 2013/14-2017/18) were: Construction 38 (39), Agriculture 29 (28), Manufacturing 15 (19), Transport & Storage 15 (14), Waste & Recycling 12 (8), Communication, Business & Finance 11 (9) and Other 24 (24).

The 24 fatal injury cases in Other sectors in 2017/18 include 8 in Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles, Accommodation and Food Service activities; 5 in Arts, Entertainment and Recreation and all other Service activities; 5 in Public Administration, Education, Human Health and Social Work activities; 4 in Mining and Quarrying; 1 in Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning; and 1 in Water Collection, Treatment and Supply.

The second approach of looking at fatality numbers is to consider the fatal injury rate in terms of the number of fatalities per 100,000 workers employed. 
*  Agriculture and Waste and recycling come out worst, with a rate of injury some 18 times and 16 times as high as the average across all industries respectively. 
*  The rate of fatal injury in Construction, while around 4 times as high as the average rate across all industries, is considerably less than the rate in either Agriculture or Waste and recycling, despite accounting for a greater number of cases than these sectors. 
*  The Manufacturing and the Transportation and storage sector have a rate of fatal injury around 1.5 to 2 times the average rate across all industries.
*  The rate of fatal injury in Mining and Quarrying is around five times as high as the average rate across all industries and broadly similar to that seen in Construction.

The fatal injury rate statistics by age group for the period 2013/14-2017/18 show that the rate of fatal injury increases with age, with workers aged 60-64 having a rate more than double the all ages rate, and workers aged 65 and over a rate around five times greater than the all ages rate.  

The main kinds of fatal accident for workers by accident kind, 2017/18 (and annual average for 2013/14-2017/18) were as follows:
*  Falls from height - 35 (37)
*  Struck by moving vehicle - 26 (26)
*  Struck by moving object - 23 (19)
*  Trapped by object collapsing/overturning - 16 (13)
*  Contact with moving machinery - 13 (12)
*  Other - 31 (34)
The 31 fatal injury cases in the Other kind of accident category in 2017/18 are made up of a range of different accident kinds including (but not limited to): 
*  Injured by an animal (9) 
*  Slips, trips or falls on the same level (4) 
*  Drowning or asphyxiation; Contact with electricity or electrical discharge; Exposure to fire. (3 fatalities each).

Since 1990, the statistical authority for the European Union (Eurostat) has worked with member states on a harmonisation programme to give consistency to workplace injury statistics across the EU. To take account of differing industrial backgrounds across member states, Eurostat publishes industry standardised incidence rates.
In 2015, the latest year for which statistics are available, the standardised fatal injury rate was 0.51 per 100,000 employees in the UK, one of the lowest of all European countries, which compares favourably with other large economies such as France (3.62), Spain (1.91) and Poland (1.06), Italy (0.82) and Germany (0.74).

In 2015, the EU countries that had the lowest workplace fatal injury rate in ascending order were Finland, the UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Poland and Estonia.
Similarly, the UK three-year average rate for 2012-2014 (0.50 per 100,000 employees) was the lowest of all EU member states. 

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