Workplace fatal injury statistics for 2020/21

Ben Hershey Danger

In Construction industry, Health and safety

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released its annual figures for the number of work-related fatalities in 2012/21, as well as the number of people known to have died from the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, in 2019.

Sadly this year’s statistics show a total of 142 people were killed in workplace accidents between April 2020 and March 2021, (up from 111 last year and down from 147 the year before), with 39 of those fatal injuries happening to workers in construction (down by 1 from 40 deaths the year before). 

142 deaths sees a return to pre-Covid levels. Last year’s total of 111 was the lowest year on record. While construction once again topped the list as the most dangerous industry to work in, agriculture, forestry and fishing accounted for 34 deaths, while in manufacturing 20 people were killed. Wholesale, retail, motor repair, accommodation and food accounted for 14 deaths, administrative and support services claimed 11 deaths, while transportation and storage saw 10 deaths. Waste and recycling accounted for 3 deaths, while the category ‘other’ claimed 11 lives.

Falls from height continue to be the biggest killer, totalling 35 deaths. Next was being struck by a moving vehicle with 25 deaths, whilst 17 people were killed after being struck by a moving object. 14 were killed after being trapped by something collapsing or overturning, 14 by contact with moving machinery and 37 by another type of accident.

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 2012/21 period, 60 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. 

Mesothelioma statistics 2019

The HSE also released the mesothelioma death statistics for 2019.

  • There were 2,369 mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain in 2019, which is 7% lower than the average number of 2540 from 2012-2018.
  • More than half of annual deaths now occur in those aged over 75 years. Annual deaths in this age group continue to increase while deaths below age 70 are now decreasing.
  • There were 1945 male deaths in 2019, 9% lower compared with recent years, and 424 female deaths.
  • There were 2,025 new cases of mesothelioma assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) in 2019, of which 240 were female. This compares with 2,230 new cases in 2018, of which 245 were female.
  • Men who worked in the building industry when asbestos was used extensively in the past are now among those most at risk of mesothelioma.

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. The next time you are in a rush and considering 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 2021, download:

For Mesothelioma statistics for Great Britain, 2021 download: