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HSE Report 2021 – Workplace Fatal Injuries in Great Britain

The latest Health and Safety Executive Report on Workplace Fatal Industries in Great Britain shows falls from height are still the biggest cause of death for workers in 2020/21. Heightsafe discuss the figures and how important work at height systems, equipment and training is to prevent fatalities caused by falls from height.

Last updated: 17/08/2021

The Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) is the regulatory body for Britain for workplace health and safety, with their main goal being to prevent work-related deaths, injuries, and ill health. The HSE produce a report annually detailing the previous year’s work-related fatalities in Great Britain, with the latest report for 2020-2021 published last month on the 7th July; which includes details of both workers and members of the public fatalities. The report excludes deaths caused by fatal diseases such as COVID-19 and those on non-rail transport systems.

Unfortunately, work-related deaths continue to occur year after year, with the latest figures revealing 142 people lost their lives; with almost 25% being caused by falls from height. Falls from height continue to be the highest number of fatal accidents for workers in Great Britain, as it consistently has been since 2017. In fact, falls from height, being struck by a moving vehicle, and being struck by a moving, flying or falling object continuously accounts for over half of all fatal injuries each year since 2001/02 at least.

HSE report fatalities figures 2020/21

The total number of fatalities has increased by 29 since last year from 113, mainly due to the Corona virus pandemic and the significant drop in the amount of work completed in the UK as many workers were furloughed for several weeks and months. The average number of deaths over the last 5 years is 136.

Depending how the data is interpreted, the worst industry in terms of total number of fatalities is either construction followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing (absolute count of fatal injuries), or agriculture, forestry and fishing followed by waste and recycling (fatality injury rate – number of fatalities per 100,000 workers). Either way, the number of agriculture, forestry and fishing workers that have suffered fatalities is a lot compared to other industries.

There is much that needs to be done to lower the number of fatalities, especially those that occur due to a fall from height. A look back to a previous blog post we have written back in 2019 after that years HSE report shows that although the number of falls from height has dropped slightly since then from 43 to 35; it is still 35 more deaths than there should be. The correct training, PPE equipment and systems in place across the board could greatly reduce this number for future reports. As our Managing Director, Ken Diable has said previously; “Ensuring that the right safety equipment is available to workers should be a basic requirement. Unfortunately, it often takes an incident or near-miss to spur action and investment in equipment. When lives are being put in jeopardy, this is not a risk worth taking”.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 are there to help employers and those responsible (such as facilities managers or building owners) prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height. When people follow the regulations and ensure the correct safety measures are in place and all risks have been adequately assessed, the chances of a fatality can be reduced.

Heightsafe offer a huge catalogue of work at height systems, training, compliance testing and maintenance services, to ensure the safety of those working at height. We can work with facilities managers and other people responsible for workers safety to ensure they select the right system for their building, as well as keeping up to date with testing and inspections and providing remedial works for any old or damaged systems.

Speak to a member of our team

Get in touch with our team of experts and we can help you and your business ensure they never become one of the statistics in the HSE fatality report. We can provide a free consultation and quote to suit your needs. Call us on 020 3819 7199, email us [email protected] or fill out our enquiry form here.

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