Though it makes for grim reading, the HSE’s annual workplace fatal injury statistics serve as a reminder to never take risks in the workplace. Sadly, this year’s statistics have shown another year-on-year rise. In the 2018/19 reporting period a total of 147 people were killed in workplace accidents (up from 144 last year and 137 the year before), with 30 of those fatal injuries happening to workers in construction (which at least showed a 20% year-on-year decrease).
Agriculture, forestry and fishing just topped construction as the most dangerous industry to work in, with 32 deaths. Manufacturing (26 deaths), wholesale, retail, motor repair, accommodation and food (18 deaths), transport and storage, (16 deaths), admin and support services (10 deaths) and the waste industry (8 deaths) followed behind. With 8 deaths in the ‘other’ category.
Falls from height were the biggest killer, totalling 40 deaths. Next was being struck by a moving vehicle (30 deaths), whilst 16 people were killed after being struck by a moving object and 14 by contact with moving machinery. 11 were killed after being trapped by something collapsing or overturning.
The construction sector has made inroads in the safety stakes over the last couple of years and this year’s statistics show the trend continues. While a number of these deaths occurred on large building sites, the risk of injury or death while working in residential properties should not be underestimated. With falls from height claiming the largest number of lives, the risk is very real whatever the property.
Adhering to health and safety legislation may seem like additional red tape, but it literally does save lives. Ignoring health and safety regulations can result in injury, not just to you or your colleagues, but also your customers - especially in homes with more vulnerable people such as the elderly or the very young. In the 2018/19 period, 92 members of the public were killed as a result of a work-connected accident. Even a simple trip hazard can result in serious injuries, for which you might be found responsible.
Your family and friends want you home safely each night. Think of health and safety as your insurance policy to help get you safely through the working day.
According to HSE figures for the construction industry 2018:
- 82,000 workers suffered from work-related ill health
- There were 58,000 non-fatal injuries
- 62% of injuries were musculoskeletal disorders
- 25% of ill health was caused by stress, depression or anxiety
- 13% of illnesses were classed as ‘other’ which will include work-related conditions such as asbestos related diseases.
So, the next time you are in a rush and consider skipping that risk assessment, or cutting a corner on a job because ‘it will never happen to me’ remember that just occasionally it does happen to someone, and they probably thought the same way too.
Always work professionally, and always work safely.
For more information, download the HSE document Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain 2019 http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf
For Health and Safety statistics for the construction sector in Great Britain see http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/industry/construction.pdf