What do the latest fatal accidents at work stats tell us?

The HSE has just released its provisional data on fatal accidents in the workplace. The headline figures show that 147 workers were killed at work in the UK in 2018-19, giving an increase of six fatalities from the 2017-18.

The HSE believes that this small increase can be explained by natural variation in the figures, as the average number of fatalities over the past five years is 142.

Whilst the long-term trend has seen significant reductions in rates of fatal injury, in recent years this trend has flat-lined, as shown in the graph below:

workplace fatalities statistics 2019

The figures also show that 92 members of the public were killed as a result of work activities over the same period.

The main kinds of fatal accidents for workers were falls from height and being struck by moving vehicles, as shown by the graph below:

workplace fatalities 2019 by type

It should be noted that HSE and local authority inspectors set their inspection priorities based on this data. Therefore, employers should focus their attention on these high-risk areas.

The sectors with the highest number of fatalities were:

  • Agriculture, fisheries and forestry: 32
  • Construction: 30
  • Manufacturing: 26

The HSE also analyse the rate of fatalities with regard to the number of workers in a sector.

These show that construction has a fatality rate four times the all industry average, while for waste management the rate is seventeen times the average, making it the most hazardous sector.