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HSE Releases Annual Workplace Fatality Statistics

Posted: 06/08/2019

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published its yearly figures for fatalities in the workplace for the year 2018/2019, revealing that 147 people were fatally injured between April 2018 and March 2019.

The figures show how fatal injuries are spread across different sectors, with construction, and agriculture, forestry and fishing making up the largest share of workers losing their lives with 30 and 32 fatalities respectively over the 12 months.

The sectors where the risk of fatal injury is at its greatest were found to be agriculture, forestry and fishing, and waste and recycling, with injury rates 18 and 17 times as high as the all-industry average.

The three most common causes of death in the workplace are falls from height (40), being hit by a moving vehicle (30) and being struck by moving objects (16), with these incidents making up nearly 60 per cent of all fatal injuries.

Risks to older employees were also highlighted in the statistical analysis, showing that 25 per cent of all fatal injuries for 2018/2019 were to those over the age of 60, despite the fact that these workers only made up about ten per cent of the total workforce.

Martin Temple, Chair of the HSE, commented: “These statistics also remind us that, in certain sectors of the economy, workplace death remain worryingly high. Agriculture, forestry and fishing account for a small fraction of the workforce of Great Britain, yet accounted for over 20 per cent of worker fatalities in the last year. This is unacceptable and more must be done to prevent such fatalities taking place.”

“Whatever the sector, we should remember that any change in numbers provides little comfort to the family, friends and colleagues of the 147 whose lives were cut short this year while doing their job.”


Health and safety advice for the agriculture industry

HSE figures show that in the last decade, nearly one person a week have lost their lives because of agricultural work and many more have suffered serious injuries or have become ill because of their jobs.

As observed by the organisation, health and safety is a requirement of running a sustainable farming business and it should be viewed as a vital part of farm business management. One of the biggest underlying problems in the sector is unwise risk-taking and people working on their own are particularly vulnerable in this regard.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, companies and individuals both have duties placed on them to make sure that adequate provision is made for health and safety in the workplace. Farmers and growers must use management systems to make sure that crops and animals are kept healthy and productive while allowing you to stay in business. Health and safety should be managed in the same way and risk assessments are an essential part of this, a careful look at what could possibly cause harm so you can work out if sufficient precautions have been taken.

You are not legally expected to eliminate risk but to protect everyone - staff members and the general public - as far as is reasonably practicable.

You might find it useful to download a free copy of the HSE’s Farmwise essential guide to health and safety in agriculture, which is relevant to anyone who works on farms. It covers the management of health and safety, as well as outlining the specific risks associated with working in your industry. There is also practical advice included to keep you safe and healthy at work.


Case study

A farming partnership was sentenced at the start of this year and fined £28,333, with costs of £5,254, after a nine-year-old boy sustained serious leg injuries while travelling in an all-terrain vehicle that was being driven by a 13-year-old.

An investigation found that the vehicle was overturned because of the inexperience and age of the driver, behind the wheel of an adult-sized machine intended for farm work. Signage on the machine made it clear it was not for use by under-16s nor that children should ride as passengers, but this was ignored.


Health and safety advice for the construction industry

Workers could be most at risk of both ill-health and injury on a construction site and because they’re well-positioned to fully understand the risks, they can help companies find out the best ways in which to carry out work. They must report anything they come across that could potentially endanger them or others.

Employers, meanwhile, must make sure that they consult their staff members or whoever is in charge of the work, about anything that will affect their health and safety.

It’s also essential that workers have the skills, knowledge, training and experience to carry out the work they’re employed to do. It is the employer’s duty to ensure that they are provided with training and supervision if required, so they can do their jobs safely and without risk to health.

Contractors, meanwhile, are also at risk of injury and ill health on construction projects, and they have a vital role in planning and monitoring the work involved, making sure that all risks are properly controlled.

They must also ensure that when they employ someone to do construction work, the skills knowledge and experience of that individual is proportionate to the complexity of the work and the risks involved.

The HSE has a range of publications providing advice and guidance for managers, workers and members of the general public, which could prove helpful for those working in the construction industry.


Case study

Just last month (July), a construction company was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £1,805 in costs, after a worker cutting a drain into a factory floor collapsed and lost consciousness while working. Upon being taken to the hospital, he was diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. The company failed to appropriately plan a safe system of work for the task being carried out,” HSE Inspector Sarah Robinson said at the time.

The investigation found that unsafe work at height had also taken place before the accident because the worker had accessed the roof without suitable edge protection or means of access, and without checking to see how stable the structure was first.

If you require some advice and further insight into deploying an emergency response team at your site, or any other advice relating to health and safety, get in touch with us here at HFR Solutions CIC today.