The HSE has released its workplace fatality figures for 2019/2020. The provisional annual data for work-related fatalities has identified 111 workers were fatally injured at work during this period (a rate of 0.34 deaths per 100,000 workers). This is the lowest year on record and represents a reduction from the previous year of 38 deaths. It is thought that the slowing down in the economy caused by COVID-19 in the last two months of this collated data (March and April) may be a contributing factor in this reduction.
The construction sector has had the highest number of workplace fatalities over the last 12 months. Falling from height still recorded as the most common cause of work-related death. The latest HSE figures also highlight the risks to older workers, with 27% of fatal injuries occurring to workers aged over 60.
The three most common causes of fatal injuries continue to be:
- Falling from height – 29
- Struck by a moving vehicle – 20
- Struck by a moving object – 18
These three causes account for 60% of the workplace fatality figures in 2019/20.
The three highest fatality figures by sector are:
- Construction – 40
- Agricultural, forestry and fishing – 20
- Waste and recycling – 5
In line with previous years’ fatal injury statistics, these figures do not include deaths from occupational disease. COVID-19 infection is therefore not part of these figures and will not feature in fatal injury statistics in subsequent years.
Mesothelioma, which is contracted through past exposure to asbestos and is one of the few work-related diseases where deaths can be counted directly, killed 2,446 in Great Britain in 2018. This is slightly lower than the average 2,550 over the previous five years.
The current figures are largely a consequence of occupational asbestos exposures that occurred before 1980. Annual mesothelioma deaths are expected to fall below current levels for years beyond 2020