According to figures published last week by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the number of workers killed in Britain last year has fallen.
The data showed that 148 workers were fatally injured between April 2012 and March 2013, compared with 172 in the previous year.
The new figures also showed the rate of fatal injuries in the following industrial sectors:
- 39 fatal injuries to construction workers, compared to an average of 53 deaths in the past five years
- 29 fatal injuries to agricultural workers, compared to an average of 36 deaths in the past five years
- 10 fatal injuries to waste and recycling workers, compared to an average of six deaths in the past five years.
Across Great Britain, the data showed that in England 118 fatal injuries were recorded in the year to March 2013, compared with an average of 144 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the 131 deaths recorded in 2011/12.
In Scotland there were 22 fatal injuries, compared with an average of 22 deaths in the past five years and an increase from the 19 deaths recorded in 2011/12. There were eight fatal injuries in Wales, compared with an average of 12 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the 19 deaths recorded in 2011/12.
TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady welcomed the drop in the number of fatalities, but added that “any death is one too many”.
She pointed out that: “It's also worth remembering that the number of immediate fatalities is less than one per cent of the total number of people who are killed as a result of their jobs - mainly as a result of diseases such as mesothelioma and other cancers.
“Many occupational diseases are still on the increase and much more needs to be done to protect workers from the long-term effects of their work.
“It is also a concern that a third of immediate workplace deaths are among the self-employed. These workers have a fatality rate almost three times higher - 1.1 deaths per 100,000, compared to 0.4 - than other workers.
“This shows the importance of ensuring that everyone at work is properly protected - something that will become much harder if the government gets its way and exempts many of the self-employed from health and safety laws.”
The HSE figures for 2012/13 are provisional and will be finalised in July 2014 following any adjustments that arise from investigations in which new facts can emerge about whether the accident was work-related.
For more information, visit the HSE website.