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HSE Reveals Workplace Fatality Numbers

A recent statistical release from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has given an insight into the number of work-related fatalities in 2016/17, as well as the number of people known to have died from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in 2015.

Fatal Accident Details

According to the provisional data, 137 workers lost their lives at work between April 2016 and March 2017 (a rate of 0.43 per 100,000 workers), the second lowest year on record. This figure does not include fatal accidents on non-rail transport systems or work-related deaths from fatal diseases.

According to the HSE, there has been a long-term downward trend in the number of fatal injuries to workers – they have halved over the last 20 years – although in recent years the trend shows signs of levelling.

The new figures show the rate of fatal injuries in several key industrial sectors, and include:

  • 30 fatal injuries to construction workers were recorded.
  • 27 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded.
  • 14 fatal injuries to waste and recycling workers were recorded.

The fatalities in the waste and recycling sector in 2016/17 include the single incident at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Ltd in Birmingham in July 2016, which resulted in five deaths.

“As we approach the one-year anniversary of this incident, our thoughts remain with the families of those who died,” commented HSE Chair Martin Temple. “We continue to fully support West Midlands Police’s investigation.”

The new figures also highlight the risks to older workers – around a quarter of fatal injuries in 2016/17 were to workers aged 60 or over, even though such workers made up only around 10% of the workforce.

There were also 92 members of the public fatally injured in accidents connected to work in 2016/17. Almost half of these occurred on railways, with the remainder occurring across a number of sectors including public services, entertainment and recreation.

Mesothelioma Deaths

Mesothelioma, one of the few work related diseases where deaths can be counted directly, contracted through past exposure to asbestos killed 2,542 in Great Britain in 2015 compared to 2,519 in 2014.

The increase in mesothelioma deaths in recent years has been driven mainly by deaths among those aged 75 and above. Of the deaths in 2015, 407 were among women and 2135 were among men, and this ratio is consistent with previous years.

The latest projections suggest there will continue to be around 2,500 deaths per year for the rest of this current decade before annual numbers begin to decline, says the HSE. The current figures relating to asbestos-related cancer reflect widespread exposures before 1980.

Duty Holders Accountable for Managing Risk

“We deal daily with the causes and consequences of work-related deaths, injuries and ill health,” added Martin Temple. “Today’s updated figures continue to inform our understanding of which areas we need to target.”

“We concentrate our interventions where we know we can have the biggest impact,” he added. “We hold duty holders accountable for managing the risks they create in the workplace. This benefits workers, business performance, the economy and wider society alike.”

Contact Us

To find out more about claiming compensation following a work-related injury then contact our specialist personal injury lawyers today.

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