workplace fatalities

Workplace Fatalities | Health and Safety

Workplace Fatalities | Health and Safety

In this article, our H & S Consultant, Colin Jones, discusses workplace fatalities and the fatality figures for 2020/2021.


Provisional data recently released shows that a total of 142 workers were killed at work in Great Britain in 2020/21. This is an increase of 29 from the previous year.  Although the number of deaths in 2019/20 (113) were relatively low compared to other recent years.


In statistical terms, the number of fatalities has remained broadly level in recent years. The average annual number of workers killed at work over the five years 2016/17-2020/21 is 136. It is worth bearing in mind that although fatalities are relatively low. Many businesses shut due to Covid-19 in 2020/21 yet the figure has still increased.


Over the past 20 years, there has been a long-term reduction in the number of workplace fatalities. This demonstrates that Great Britain is one of the safest places to work in the world.


The figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) relate to workplace incidents. They do not include deaths arising from occupational exposure to disease, including Covid-19.


HSE’s Chief Executive, Sarah Albon, said: “Whilst the working world in which we now live has created new health challenges for workers and for those who have a duty towards them, safety must also remain a priority. Whilst the picture has improved considerably over the longer term and Great Britain is one of the safest places to work in the world, every loss of life is a tragedy, we are committed to ensuring that workplaces are as safe as they can be and that employers are held to account and take their obligations seriously.


The three most common causes of fatal injuries continue to be:

  • Workers falling from height – 35
  • Being struck by a moving vehicle – 25
  • Being struck by a moving object – 17

These account for more than half of workplace fatalities in 2020/21.


These figures also continue to highlight the risks to older workers with around 30 percent of fatal injuries in 2020/21 involving workers aged 60 or over. As such workers only make up around 11 percent of the workforce. Members of the public continue to be killed in connection with work-related incidents. In 2020/21, 60 members of the public were killed as a result of a work-related incident.


Employees’ Mental Wellbeing

Whilst we move closer to the new normal of working life post 19th July. Health and Safety has to be top of the employer’s agenda to ensure employees feel their concerns and wellbeing is being considered.


As tragic as any fatality is in work due to physical accidents and incidents, the thought of having a member of staff feeling depressed or anxious enough to consider suicide is unthinkable. The pandemic has impacted on many peoples mental health. So, with businesses considering a hybrid model to allow remote working to continue, special consideration must be given to remote workers and those who may be vulnerable.


A recent study by The Mental Health Foundation shows some interesting statistics.

  • Anxiety about the pandemic has fallen among UK adults, from 62 percent of those surveyed in March 2020 to 42 percent in February 2021.
  • Loneliness has risen, from 10 percent of those surveyed in March 2020 to 26 percent in February 2021.
  • Fewer UK adults feel they are coping well with the stress of the pandemic. In April 2020, 73 percent said they were coping well whereas, in February 2021, only 64 percent said this.
  • Feelings of hopelessness across the population showed little change. In both March 2020 and February 2021, 18 percent of people surveyed saying they had felt hopeless about the pandemic over the previous fortnight.
  • Eight percent of UK adults surveyed in April 2020 said they had had thoughts and feelings about suicide in the previous two weeks. This rose to 13 percent in February 2021.
  • Young adults (18-24 year olds), full-time students, people who are unemployed, single parents and those with long-term disabling health problems and pre-existing problems with their mental health continue to be significantly more likely to be feeling distressed, across a range of measures, compared with UK adults generally.

New results from the landmark Mental Health in the Pandemic study show that one year on, the crisis has had wide and deep emotional impacts on UK adults.


It is clear, there is a need to put measures in place to support employees and so that they feel they have someone or somewhere to go. Clear communication and doing everything you can practicably do help as an employer is vital.


How can we help?

At HPC we have recently introduced Health and Safety into the business. Our team of experts can advise you on sector-specific Health and Safety regulations for your business to help reduce the risk of workplace fatalities. We are offering a free Health and Safety Health Check worth £350 to all businesses. We want to help provide you with peace of mind that you’re operating safely.  Get in touch with the team today to book in with our H & S expert.


If you have any Health and Safety concerns or would like to discuss anything further, please get in contact with the HPC team today.


T: 0844 800 5932


Twitter: @HPC_HRServices

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