According to provisional data published by the Health and Safety Executive, 142 workers were killed at work in Great Britain in 2020/21, 29 more than the year before.
Although the number of fatalities has remained broadly level in recent years – the average annual number of workers killed at work over the five years from 2016/17 to 2020/21 is 136 - the figures relate only to workplace incidents and exclude deaths from occupational exposure to disease including, given these figures cover the pandemic, Covid-19.
The three most common causes of fatal injuries (accounting for more than half of fatalities in 2020/21) continue to be workers falling from height (35 deaths), being struck by a moving vehicle (25 fatalities) and being struck by a moving object (17 lives lost).
Older workers are more at risk with around 30 per cent of fatal injuries in 2020/21 involving workers aged 60 or over, even though workers of this age only make up around 11 per cent of the workforce.
In addition, members of the public continue to be killed in connection with work-related incidents. In 2020/21, there were 60 such deaths.
The long-anticipated fall in deaths from mesothelioma (a cancer contracted through past exposure to asbestos) may be starting to show (after years when it was predicted but failed to materialise) with a seven per cent fall from an average of 2,540 deaths over the previous seven years to 2,369 people in 2019. However, the HSE remains cautious about predicting a trend saying that it is still not certain how quickly annual deaths will decline.
A fuller assessment of work-related ill-health and injuries, drawing on the HSE’s full range of data sources, will be provided as part of its annual Health and Safety Statistics due to be published in mid-December 2021.
To read the report in full, click here.