Workplace Fatal Injuries in Great Britain

The HSE have released the figures for workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain for 2022.

A total of 123 workers were killed in work-related accidents in 2021/22, a decrease of 22 fatalities from 2020/21. Fatal injuries in the workplace are thankfully rare events, this article highlights the areas that these injuries occur and how they differ from the previous year, alongside showing us the five year average for fatal injuries in each workplace sector.

Injuries by Industry

There are two ways of looking at fatality numbers, Absolute count, and Fatality number per 100,000 workers

Absolute Count

  • Construction accounted for 30 injuries in 2021/22, a decrease of 10 from the previous year. The five year average being 36
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing in 2021/22 were accountable for 22 fatal injuries, a decrease of 12 from the previous year. The five year average being 28
  • The manufacturing sector saw 22 fatal injuries in 2021/22, an increase of 3 from 2020/21 giving a five year average of 19 injuries.

Fatality Numbers per 100,000 Employees– The below statistics are based on annual rates for 2017/18-2021/22 to reduce year on year fluctuations

  • Fatal injuries in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector were 21 times as high as all other industries.
  • Fatalities in the waste and recycling sector were 11 times as high as all other industries. However as there was just one worker death in 2021/22, the rate for this year alone is significantly lower than the five year average.
  • In construction, fatal injury rate was around four times as high as the average across all industries.

Injuries by Accident

79% of all fatal injuries were accounted for by 5 different accident kinds in 2021/22

  • Falls from height accounted for 24% of all worker deaths
  • Struck by moving vehicle accounted for 23 fatal injuries, representing 19% of worker deaths
  • Struck by moving, including flying/falling object accounting for 15% (18) of worker deaths

Injuries by Gender and Age

116 (94%) of fatal injuries in workers were male in 2021/22, similar to previous years. In addition, 24% were aged 60 and over, even though such workers only made up 11% of the workforce.

Injuries by Employment Status

Between 2017/18 and 2021/22, 33% of fatal injuries were to self-employed workers even though such workers only made up 16% of the workforce.

Injuries by Country within Great Britain

Between 2017/18-2021/22 England consistently had a lower injury rate than either Scotland or Wales. However in England there are a greater proportion of people working in lower risk jobs.

Injury Comparison with other Countries

Although health and safety systems differ across Europe, the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) publishes data in as standardised a form as possible. The most recent data from Eurostat shows in 2018, the UK shows one of the lowest rates of fatal injury compared to other companies across the EU with the standardised rate of 0.61% per 100,000 employees.

Alternative Measure of Fatal Injury Rate

Due to Coronavirus, working out injury rate per 100,000 posed an issue with workers being furloughed. This meant the amount of workers at risk in 2020/2021 and 2021/22 were over estimated which in turn will have under estimated the fatal injury rate.

An alternative measure of injury rate to avoid this issue is to consider deaths per 100 million hours worked. The outcome shows that the rate of fatal injury in both 2020/21 and 2021/22 is in line with pre-pandemic levels.

Fatal Injuries to Members of the Public

A total of 80 members of the public were killed as a result of work-related accident in 2021/22. While this is an increase of 17 from last year, it remains significantly lower than the pre-pandemic level.