New figures released today indicate the number of workers killed in Britain last year has fallen to the lowest annual rate on record.
Provisional data released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveals that 133 workers were fatally injured between April 2013 and March 2014, compared with 150 in the previous year.
The overall rate of fatal injury has dropped to 0.44 per 100,000 workers, compared with 0.51 in 2012/13.
HSE chair Judith Hackitt said: “The release of the annual statistics always leads to mixed emotions. Sadness for the loss of 133 lives, and sympathy for their families, friends and workmates, but also a sense of encouragement that we continue to make progress in reducing the toll of suffering.
“While these are only provisional figures, they confirm Britain’s performance in health and safety as world class. For the last eight years we have consistently recorded one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers among the leading industrial nations in Europe.”
Minister of State for Health and Safety Mike Penning said: “Any death at work is a death too many. But these statistics show that workplaces are getting safer.
“The Health and Safety Executive do an excellent job in making sure each and every one of us can go out to do an honest day’s work in the knowledge that our safety is being taken seriously.”
The new figures also show the rate of fatal injuries in several key industrial sectors:
- There were 27 fatal injuries to workers in agriculture, lower than the average of 33 for the previous five years. The rate of fatal injury in 2013/14 is 8.77, compared with the five-year average rate of 9.89
- There were 42 fatal injuries to workers in construction, lower than the average figure of 46. The latest rate of fatal injury is 1.98 per 100, 000 workers, compared with a five-year average of 2.07.
- There were four fatal injuries to workers in waste and recycling, lower than the average count of seven over the past five years. The latest rate of 3.33 deaths per 100,000 compares with an average rate of 5.48
Across Great Britain:
- 106 fatal injuries in England were recorded – a rate of 0.41 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared with an average of 134 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the 119 deaths (and rate of 0.47) recorded in 2012/13
- 20 fatal injuries in Scotland were recorded – a rate of 0.78 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared with an average of 21 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the 23 deaths (and rate of 0.90) recorded in 2012/13
- Seven fatal injuries in Wales were recorded – a rate of 0.52 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared with an average of 10 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the eight deaths (and rate of 0.61) recorded in 2012/13
HSE has also today released the latest number of deaths from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
These show that 2,535 people died in 2012, which is an increased from 2,291 in 2011.
Ms Hackitt said: “The high numbers of deaths relating to mesothelioma are a reminder of historically poor standards of workplace health and safety, which decades later are causing thousands of painful, untimely deaths each year.
“While we now recognise and are better positioned to manage such health risks, these statistics are a stark reminder of the importance of keeping health standards in the workplace on a par with those we apply to safety.”