HSE fatality figures show year on year increase – construction again most vulnerable

One hundred and thirty-five workers were killed in work-related incidents in Great Britain in the last year, according to HSE annual report.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published its annual work-related fatality figures revealing an increase from last year, with the construction sector again making up the majority of deaths.

The other industries reporting high numbers are agriculture, forestry, and fishing (21), manufacturing (15), and transportation and storage (15).

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing has the highest rate of fatal injury per 100,000 workers of all the main industrial sectors – as it was last year –  followed by waste and recycling. The data covers the period from April 2022 to March 2023.

The three most common causes of fatal injuries are falls from height (40), being struck by a moving object (29), and being struck by a moving vehicle (20).

The total of 135 worker deaths in 2022/23 is higher than the previous year (123) but in line with pre-pandemic levels when the figure for 2020/21 was 145.

“Sobering reminder”

Commenting on the statistics, HSE’s Chief Executive Sarah Albon explained: “Any loss of life in the workplace is a tragedy. While these figures show Great Britain is one of the safest countries in the world to work, safety must continue to be at the top of everyone’s agenda. Our mission is to protect people and places and we remain committed to maintaining safe workplaces and holding employers to account for their actions.”

The Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH) responded to the numbers by calling for “continued strength and efforts to ensure people are protected at work”.

In a press release, Ruth Wilkinson, Head of Policy at IOSH, said: “This data is a sobering reminder of the consequences of health and safety failures and that our efforts to prevent occupational accidents, incidents, ill health and diseases must not stop. These are 135 lives lost in one year. These are 135 families, friends and colleagues having to cope with a devastating loss. We cannot accept this.”

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