Numbers killed at work reduces but mesothelioma deaths on the rise
New figures released today indicate the number of workers killed in Britain last year has fallen to the lowest annual rate on record.
Provisional data released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveals that 133 workers were fatally injured between April 2013 and March 2014, compared with 150 in the previous year.
The overall rate of fatal injury has dropped to 0.44 per 100,000 workers, compared to 0.51 in 2012/13.
Judith Hackitt, the HSE Chair, said:
“The release of the annual statistics always leads to mixed emotions. Sadness for the loss of 133 lives, and sympathy for their families, friends and workmates, but also a sense of encouragement that we continue to make progress in reducing the toll of suffering.
“Whilst these are only provisional figures, they confirm Britain’s performance in health and safety as world class. For the last eight years we have consistently recorded one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers among the leading industrial nations in Europe.”
Minister of State for Health and Safety, Mike Penning, said:
“Any death at work is a death too many. But these statistics show that workplaces are getting safer.
“The Health and Safety Executive do an excellent job in making sure each and every one of us can go out to do an honest day’s work in the knowledge that our safety is being taken seriously.”
The new figures also show the rate of fatal injuries in several key industrial sectors:
- There were 27 fatal injuries to workers in agriculture, lower than the average of 33 for the previous five years. The rate of fatal injury in 2013/14 is 8.77, compared to the five-year average rate of 9.89.
- There were 42 fatal injuries to workers in construction, lower than the average figure of 46. The latest rate of fatal injury is 1.98 per 100, 000 workers, compared to a five-year average of 2.07.
- There were 4 fatal injuries to workers in waste and recycling, lower than the average count of 7 over the last five years. The latest rate of 3.33 deaths per 100, 000 compares to an average rate of 5.48
Across Great Britain:
- 106 fatal injuries in England were recorded – a rate of 0.41 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to an average of 134 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the 119 deaths (and rate of 0.47) recorded in 2012/13
- 20 fatal injuries in Scotland were recorded – a rate of 0.78 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to an average of 21 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the 23 deaths (and rate of 0.90) recorded in 2012/13
- 7 fatal injuries in Wales were recorded – a rate of 0.52 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to an average of 10 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the 8 deaths (and rate of 0.61) recorded in 2012/13
HSE has also today released the latest number of deaths from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. These show that 2,535 people died in 2012, which is an increased from 2,291 in 2011.
Judith Hackitt said:
“The high numbers of deaths relating to mesothelioma are a reminder of historically poor standards of workplace health and safety, which decades later are causing thousands of painful, untimely deaths each year. While we now recognise and are better positioned to manage such health risks, these statistics are a stark reminder of the importance of keeping health standards in the workplace on a par with those we apply to safety.”
Notes to editors
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk.
- When making regional comparisons, it should be noted that differences are strongly influenced by variations in the mix of industries and occupations. The number of fatalities in some regions is relatively small, hence susceptible to considerable variation.
- Further data will be released in October on the numbers of serious injuries and estimates of the numbers of premature deaths caused by harmful exposures in the workplace.
- HSE is due to launch an asbestos campaign in Autumn 2014 that aims to help at-risk tradespeople work more safely with asbestos to protect themselves from harm.
- Further information on workplace statistics can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/statistics
- The average rate of fatal injury over the last five years has been 0.56 per 100, 000 workers. In each of the last five years, the number of fatal injuries has been:
- 2012/13 – 150 workers died (previous provisional figure was 148)
- 2011/12 – 171 workers died
- 2010/11 – 175 workers died
- 2009/10 – 147 workers died
- 2008/09 – 179 workers died
- Based on the latest available data, from 2011, Britain continues to have the lowest rate of fatal injuries to workers among the five leading industrial nations in Europe – Germany, France, Spain and Italy for the eighth year. http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf
- More information on tackling occupational disease is available on HSE’s website including a link to the online forum. http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/occupational-disease/
- The reporting of health and safety incidents at work is a statutory requirement, set out under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). A reportable incident includes: a death or major injury; any accident which does not result in major injury, but the injured person still has to take seven or more days off their normal work to recover; a work related disease; a member of the public being injured as a result of work related activity and taken to hospital for treatment; or a dangerous occurrence, which does not result in a serious injury, but could have done.
- The figures for 2013/14 are provisional. They will be finalised in July 2015 following any necessary adjustments arising from investigations, in which new facts can emerge about whether the accident was work-related. The delay of a year in finalising the figures allows for such matters to be fully resolved in the light of formal interviews with all relevant witnesses, forensic investigation and coroners’ rulings.