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Workplace Fatalities in the UK – Facts and Statistics

This year 111 workers were fatally injured at work between April 2019 and March 2020 in the UK alone. Despite a fall of 38 deaths when compared to the previous year, it is still evident that more could be done to ensure the safety of all workers in the UK. The large fall is thought to partly be due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the economy in from February 2020 onwards.

With these workplace fatality figures not including deaths from occupational disease, the COVID-19 infection is not part of these figures. How many who have lost their lives to COVID-19 after becoming infected within their workplace is yet to be established.

Which sector is most dangerous for workers?

Figures show that 40 construction industry workers were fatally injured during accidents in their workplace, this is above the average of 37 for the previous 5 years. The average number of deaths in the construction industry is around 4 times higher than the all industry rate.

However when you take into account the number of people employed in the construction industry the deaths per 100,000 workers rate is less than those working in the agricultural, forestry and fishing workers. 20 workers from the sector suffered fatal injuries in 2019/20, the lowest level since records began. It also hold the accolade of highest rate of fatal injury of all the main industry sectors, around 18 times as high as the all industry rate.

Over the last 40 years the UK has made vast improvements to improve worker safety, although one sector is struggling more than others in recent years. This year, 5 waste and recycling workers lost their lives in workplace accidents, that is an average of 4.57 in every 100,000.

What are the main kinds of fatal accidents for workers?

More than three quarters of all fatal injuries in both 2019/20 and the combined five year period leading up to it can be accounted for by just five types of different accidents. In fact over half of all fatal injuries to workers since 2001/2 were caused by just three kinds, falls from a height, struck by a moving vehicle, or being struck by a moving, including flying or falling, object.

29 workers lost their lives after an accident involving a fall from a height, accounting for around a quarter of all worker deaths over the year, which has been the case consistently for the previous five years.

20 workers were killed after being struck by a moving vehicle in their workplace during 2019/20, representing just under 20% of all worker deaths over the year. This is down from 26 who were fatally injured in the previous year.

18 workers were fatally injured after being struck by a moving object, including flying, or falling objects. They represent sixteen percent of workplace deaths, similar to the previous 5 years.

15 workers were killed after trapped or crushed by something collapsing or overturning during 2019/20. While 11 workers died after coming into contact with moving machinery in the workplace.

The final 18 workers who lost their lives in workplace accidents are made up of various different kinds of accidents including (but not limited to):

  • Slips trips of falls on the same level
  • Exposure to, or contact with, a harmful substance
  • Exposure to an explosion
  • Injured by an animal
  • Strike against something fixed or stationary
  • Exposure to fire
  • Contact with electricity or electrical discharge

Who is most at risk?

Of the 111 workplace fatalities in 2019/20, 97% of those killed in workplace accidents were male, a similar proportion to recent years. This is due to male workers holding positions in more dangerous industries, it is thought in the UK that just one in eight construction workers are women.

When it comes to age, workers aged 60 and over are those most at risk of suffering a fatal injury in the workplace despite them only accounting for around 10% of the overall workforce. 30 workers, 27% of all fatally injured during 2019/20 were over the age of 60. Whereas the other 80 workers killed were aged between 16-59, accounting for 72% of all fatalities, despite making up 90% of the overall workforce.

The average rate of workers killed for every 100,000 workers between 2015/16 and 2019/20 sits at 0.42 while those aged 65+ have an average of 1.77 in every 100,000 workers. The figures show that once a worker reaches the age of 55 they are in a group of workers more at risk than the annual average for the first time in their lives.

Making a claim for a fatal accident at work

Losing a loved one is a tragic, often life changing event, if they are fatally injured while carrying out their job the heartache is likely to be compounded. Our team of experts are here to help you get the compensation you deserve for your loss; they have helped hundreds of clients over the past 20 years. All of our claims are handled on a no win no fee basis, meaning you’ll pay nothing win or lose. Speak to our team now by calling 0800 285 1411 or complete an online enquiry form

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