The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has revealed a record low number of workplace deaths for the year 2019/20, according to provisional figures published at the beginning of July.
The statistics, which will be revealed in full in November 2020, show that 111 workers were fatally injured over the course of the year. This marks a drop of 38 fatalities on the 2018/2019 total, a new all-time low.
COVID-19 plays a part
The HSE acknowledged that the pandemic of COVID-19 accentuated the decrease due to large numbers of employees not being at work. In statistical terms the number of fatalities has remained broadly flat in recent years, leading the HSE to caution that this current fall may not reflect a major shift in the inherent dangerousness of workplaces.
It is also worth noting that this statistic does not include death from occupational disease, such as COVID-19.
Breakdown of the statistics
Fatal injuries are historically higher among male workers, and this trend continued in 2019/2020 with 97% of the fatalities being male.
Agriculture also remains the most dangerous sector, with 20 fatalities. But construction saw a slight jump in its figures from last year, rising to 40 from 31 in 2018/2019. However, these figures do tend to fluctuate. Over the last five years the number of fatalities in this industry has ranged from a low of 31 last year to a high of 47.
Geographically, the provisional data has Wales with the highest number of workplace fatalities, twice as high as those in the East Midlands, which had the next highest total. The HSE tends to attribute this to the mix of industry in the economy of these areas.
Keeping workforces safe
The annual statistics of the HSE help to underline the ongoing importance of health and safety in the workplace. It is every employer’s responsibility to make the workplace as safe and healthy as possible in order to protect staff, reduce risk and minimise the likelihood of injury, illness or death.
The international Standard for occupational health & safety management, ISO 45001, is one way of implementing best practice health and safety processes that demonstrate to your staff, clients and suppliers that you take health and safety seriously. It can also help to reduce the likelihood of illness, injury or breaches to legislation.
To find out more about the advantages of ISO 45001, get in touch with our team today by calling 0333 344 3646 or emailing [email protected].