HSE fatal injury statistics 2017/18

Each year the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) releases fatal injury statistics. The results released for 2017/18 show a total of 144 workers suffered a fatal injury during this period. Although this is slightly higher than the 2016/17 statistics, this is simply a natural variation with the average figure for the previous five years being 141, rather than the sign of a concerning upward trend.

Main causes of fatal work injuries

The five types of accidents which caused most of the fatalities are:

  • Falling from a height
  • Injured by a moving vehicle
  • Injured by a moving, flying or falling object
  • Injury caused by moving machinery
  • Entrapment as a result of something being overturned or collapsing

Of these five causes, 50% of the fatal accidents of the last 17 years was caused by the first three on the list.

Which industry has the most fatal accidents?

If looking at numbers alone, the industry with the most fatal accidents is the construction industry with 38 injuries. However, as this is a large sector, this figure is not necessarily the most accurate. The HSE uses a figure per 100,000 workers to gain an accurate picture and the construction industry had a fatality rate of 1.64 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers.

This is considerably lower than the waste and recycling industry which had a rate of 10.26 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers in 2017/18.

Who might be most at risk?

The HSE has identified some categories of the workforce which are most at risk:

  • A third of the fatal injuries occurred among self-employed workers
  • 40% of the fatal injuries occurred in the over 60 years old category, although this sector only makes up 10% of the workforce

What are the next steps?

The HSE uses these statistics to spot trends among the fatal injuries so they know where to take action in terms of both the industries and the demographics involved.

With trends remaining consistent over the past few years, this means the HSE will continue to focus on the sectors which display the highest risk in the hope that the number of fatal injuries at work can be reduced.


Disclaimer: The information provided through Legislation Watch is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Legislation Watch is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.

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