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Second lowest year for deaths in the workplace

14 July 2017

Fatal accidents in the workplace have fallen to 137, their lowest level for four years and second lowest on record, according to the latest information from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Construction accounted for the highest number of fatalities (30), followed by agriculture (27) then the waste and transport and storage sectors, which both saw 14 fatal injuries to workers.

A total of 31 people died after being struck by a moving vehicle, 25 falling from height, 20 were struck by a moving object, 10 were crushed, eight fatal injuries resulted from contact with moving machinery and a further eight through contact with electricity.

The HSE study shows that the rate of fatal injury per 100,000 workers has fallen from 2.1 in 1981 to 0.4 this year, with the figure leveling off in recent years.

Compared with 29 countries around the world, the UK has had the lowest number of fatal injuries at work since 2014.

The average number of work-related fatal accidents over the last five years is now 142, according to the HSE.

There were 150 deaths in 2012/13, 136 in 2013/4, 142 in 2014/125 and 147 in the previous 12-month period before the latest study.

Examining the figures for work-related deaths for members of the public, the average number since 2012 is 42.

Work-related fatal injuries resulting from road collisions, air or sea transportation, those occurring to members of the armed forces or those due to 'natural causes', such as heart attacks or stroke, are not included in the HSE figures.

Health and safety experts have pointed out that deaths from exposure to asbestos in the workplace, thought to be around 2,500 in number, and work-related suicide - estimated to be more than 100 - and other factors are also not recorded.

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