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2020 / 2021 Edition

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HSE releases annual injury and ill health statistics

Sarah Newton

Latest injury and ill health statistics for Great Britain show lowest number of deaths on record

STATISTICS released last week show that Great Britain is still one of the safest places in the world to work with the lowest number of deaths on record. The annual report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shows that 111 workers suffered fatal injuries at work in GB in the 2019/2020 period, whilst around 693,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries and 1.6 million workers were suffering from work-related ill health.

Although the rate of fatal injury in mining and quarrying continues to be around four times as high as the average rate across all industries and broadly similar to that seen in construction, the report notes that there have been no fatalities in the mining and quarrying sector in either of the last two years.

In 2019/20, across all industries, 29 fatal injuries to workers were due to falls from a height, accounting for around a quarter of all worker deaths over the year, whilst being struck by a moving vehicle accounted for 20 fatal injuries, representing just under 20% of the total number of deaths over the year. Eighteen (16%) of the fatal injuries in 2019/20 were caused by being struck by a moving (including falling) object.

In total, 38.8 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury in 2019/20, with more than half of this figure being due to mental ill health. According to the report, the emergence of COVID-19 as a national health issue at the end of final quarter of 2019/20 does not appear to be the main driver of changes seen in the 2019/20 data, although it may be a contributory factor.

In 2019/2020, the estimated economic cost to Great Britain totalled £16.2 billion. Moreover, 325 cases were prosecuted and resulted in a conviction. Fines from convictions totalled £35.8 million.

In response to the report, HSE chair Sarah Newton (pictured) said: ‘Although Great Britain continues to be up there with the safest places in the world to work, these figures highlight the scale of the challenge HSE currently faces in making Britain an even healthier and safer place to work; this includes our role in the response to the pandemic to ensure workplaces are Covid Secure.

‘We must continue to drive home the importance of managing risk and promoting behaviours to ensure employers work right so that workers are able to go home healthy and safe at the end of each day. The HSE remains committed to taking action where workers are not protected, to ensure the guidance and assistance we provide for employers in managing risks are the best available, based on the latest evidence and science.’

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