HSE Release Annual Workplace Fatality Figures

Slightly up on last year

Posted on: 14/07/2016   By: Lee Rance

The provisional workplace fatality figures for 2015/16 have been released by the HSE but just what exactly are these stats telling us.

Source: HSE

Source: HSE

One of the main reasons for statistics gathering is to help us learn and improve. They let us know if what we are doing is working or if something needs changing. The HSE can use the figures collected to demonstrate that the regulations currently in place are helping to reduce workplace injuries and deaths.

144 workers were fatally injured at work between April 2015 and March 2016, this works out at a rate of 0.46 fatalities per 100,000 workers. This provisional figure (144 fatalities) is slightly up on last year (142 fatalities) but the number is still 7% lower than the last 5 years average.

These figures don’t include deaths from road traffic accidents and accidents on board transport in the course of work or asbestos related cancer (Mesothelioma). This number of deaths from asbestos related cancer (2515 in 2014) is rising each year and is expected to peak in 2017-2018 and then drop off rapidly. Exposure to asbestos in the UK is estimated to have peaked around 1963 and decreased rapidly thereafter. By 1999 the use and supply of asbestos was banned in the UK, and work on asbestos already in place is now closely regulated.

The workplace fatality figures are broken down into key industries:

  • Construction – 43 (5 year average = 43)
  • Services – 37 (5 year average  = 45)
  • Agriculture – 27 (5 year average  = 32)
  • Manufacturing – 27 (5 year average  = 22)
  • Waste and recycling – 6 (5 year average  = 7)
  • Gas, Electricity and Water supply – 2 (5 year average  = 2)
  • Mining and Quarrying – 2 (5 year average  = 4)

The UK still has one of the lowest standardise rates of fatal injury in Europe at 0.46 fatalities per 100,000 workers, a lot lower than many other EU member states, including the large economies of Germany (0.81), Italy (1.24), Spain (1.55) and France (2.94).

The earliest data on fatalities recorded was in 1974, the year the Health and Safety at Work Act was introduced. In that year there was a shocking 651 fatalities. In fact fatal injuries to employees has fallen by 87% since then. Even when the figures are compared with those of 20 years ago (350 fatalities) you realise just how far we have come and just how effective the interventions developed by the HSE are.

Sometimes it’s hard to get away from the figures and realise that behind every workplace fatality there are a devastated family and friends. That is why we must keep on striving to improve our standards of safety in the workplace so we continue to see this figure fall year on year and keep the UK as one of the safest places to work in the world.

Until next time.

Lee Rance