HSE: 30 people died in construction in the past year

HSE figures show 30 people in construction died at work in the year to the end of March 2022.

Great Britain is one of safest places in the world to work, but figures just released by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) show 123 people died at work in the year to the end of March this year.

Construction once again recorded the highest number of deaths (although not the highest death rate) at 30. Agriculture, forestry & fishing had 22, so did manufacturing. Agriculture, forestry & fishing had the highest rate of fatal injury per 100,000 workers.

The three most common causes of fatal injuries continue to be falling from height (29), being struck by a moving vehicle (23), and being struck by a moving object (18).

At 123, the number of deaths is lower than during the 12 months to the end of March 2021 and is in line with pre-pandemic figures.

The long-term trend in deaths at work remains downward, although in the years before the coronavirus pandemic the rate had flattened out.

As well as those who died at work, those working managed to kill 80 members of the public. This is worse than the previous year, when the Covid restrictions kept people at home, but below the pre-pandemic level.

The release of the annual figures coincides with the 50th anniversary this month (July) of the publication of the landmark Robens report that led to the Health & Safety at Work Act two years later, in 1974, and the creation of the HSE a year after that.

Since then, Great Britain has become one of the safest places in the world to work, although HSE’s Chief Executive, Sarah Albon, says the latest figures show “we must continue to ensure safety remains a priority”.

She said as the figures were published: “Every loss of life is a tragedy, and we are committed to making workplaces safer and holding employers to account for their actions as part of our mission to protect people and places.”

The figures relate to work-related accidents only and do not include deaths from occupational diseases or diseases arising from certain occupational exposures such as respirable crystalline silica dust in stone workshops.

The HSE has also also published figures for Mesothelioma deaths up to 2020. Mesothelioma is a cancer that can be caused by exposure to asbestos. 2,544 people died from it in 2020. Many of them had worked in the construction industry.

It is a shocking number, but is in line with the average of 2,523 deaths over the previous eight years. Current mesothelioma deaths reflect exposure to asbestos that mainly occurred before the 1980s, so deaths from it are expected to decline during the next decade, reflecting the banning of making and using asbestos and the diminishing number of people exposed to it.