HSE annual workplace fatality figures released

Posted 17/07/2017 : By: Tim Ridyard

HSE (Health and Safety Executive) work-related fatal accident figures for April 2016 to March 2017 have been published. Sadly, there were 137 fatalities in that period though this is the second lowest year on record and a halving of deaths over 20 years.

It is of interest to examine the category of incident that led to the deaths and the sector within which they took place.

Main categories of fatal accidents: Struck by moving vehicle: 31 deaths Falls from height: 24 deaths  Struck by moving object: 20 deaths Trapped by something collapsing/overturning: 10 deaths Contact with moving machinery: 8 deaths Contact with electricity: 8 deaths

The fatal injury rate for the self - employed is more than double that for employees. In these tragic figures 25% of the fatal injuries were to workers aged 60 or more despite them constituting about 10% of the overall workforce.

Fatalities by sector: in the statistics certain prominent sectors feature:     • Construction sector: 30 fatalities (the lowest recorded – the 5-year record sits at about 4 times that of all sectors combined)    • Agricultural sector: 27 fatalities (the highest fatal injury rate for all main sectors and 18 times the all sector rate)    • Waste and recycling: 14 fatalities (this sector is small but over 5 years the fatal injury rate is 15 times as high as all industry sectors)    • Transport and storage: 14 fatalities

The general trend to 2016/17 (137 deaths) is downwards with a recent levelling off:    • 171 workers died in 2011/12    • 150 workers died in 2012/13    • 136 workers died in 2013/14    • 142 workers died in 2014/15    • 147 workers died in 2015/16

Because a fatality occurs it does not automatically follow that any offence has been committed. However, businesses that do breach the law will receive very large fines if prosecuted and convicted. The penalties imposed on businesses and individuals for breaches of health and safety laws leading to fatalities have increased significantly since changes in sentencing guidelines introduced in February 2016 – this has led to a huge increase in the number of fines imposed that are in excess of £1M. Recently a consultation was also commenced reviewing sentences for manslaughter including gross negligence manslaughter.  https://www.ashtonslegal.co.uk/gross-negligence-manslaughter-increased-sentences

If you require information, advice, assistance or representation with regard to any investigation or proceedings faced by you or your business please contact our Regulatory Team whose details are: Tim Ridyard on 01284 732111 or tim.ridyard@ashtonslegal.co.uk Tim Norris on 01284 732102 or tim.norris@ashtonslegal.co.uk

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