Provisional figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have revealed that there were two more deaths at work in 2015/2016 compared to 2014/2015. The construction sector had the highest level of fatalities, with 43 workers killed.

The provisional figure for the number of workers fatally injured in 2015/16 is 144, which corresponds to a rate of fatal injury of 0.46 deaths per 100,000 workers. This is 7 per cent lower than the average for the past five years (155). The latest rate of fatal injury of 0.46 compares to the five-year average rate of 0.52.

The finalised figure for 2014/15 is 142 worker fatalities, and corresponds to a rate of 0.46 deaths per 100,000 workers. Over the latest 20-year time period there has been a downward trend in the rate of fatal injury, although in recent years this shows signs of levelling off.

In terms of sectors:

  • there were 27 fatal injuries to workers in agriculture, lower than the five-year average of 32
  • in mining and quarrying two workers were killed, compared to an average of four deaths for the previous five years
  • there were 27 fatal injuries to workers in manufacturing, 23 per cent higher than the five-year average (22)
  • there were six fatal injuries to workers in waste and recycling, compared to the five-year average (7) but subject to considerable yearly fluctuations
  • there were 43 fatal injuries to workers in construction, the same as the five-year average of 43
  • there were 37 fatal injuries to workers in services, 18 per cent lower than the average for the past five years (45).

It should be noted that the figures for 2015/16 are still provisional, covering the twelve months 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. These will not be finalized until July 2017 following any necessary adjustments. Based on previous years, the HSE warns that the provisional 2015/16 figure of 144 could increase or decrease by several deaths when it is finalized.

David Robinson, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Every workplace death is one death too many. It is no coincidence that the levelling off of the downward annual trend in workplace fatalities has occurred following a reduction in funding for the Health and Safety Executive and following removal of key protection and enforcement mechanisms.

“More worrying is that the 2015/16 provisional figures indicate a rise. Without putting workplace safety at the top of the agenda and properly resourcing it, it is perhaps inevitable that the rise will continue. This must not happen.”

To read the full report, go to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf