Fatal Accidents In The Workplace

15 Oct 2020 | Stuart Kightley
Accidente en almacén

A new article from the BBC takes a looked at fatal accidents at work. The report states that since 1981, there has been a significant drop in workplace fatalities, primarily due to the decline of the coal mining and steel industries and the reduction of people working in factories and heavy industries. So how do things stand today?

Fatal Accident at Work Statistics

The Health and Safety Executive of Great Britain publishes an annual report on the fatal injuries arising from accidents at work in England, Scotland and Wales. The 2016/ 2017 report states that 137 people were killed at work during this period, 10 less than the previous year. The Agriculture and Waste sectors account for the greatest number of fatalities, with rates 18 times and 15 times higher than all other industries, respectively. However, the Construction Industry accounts for the greatest absolute count of 39 deaths. The majority of those fatally injured were men aged between 16 and 59 and the causes were

  • being stuck by a moving vehicle or object
  • falls from a height
  • trapped by something collapsing
  • contact with moving machinery
  • contact with electricity

Furthermore, although workers aged over 60 years represent only 10% of the workforce, this group represented around 1 in 4 of all fatalities. In addition, a total of 92 members of the public were also killed due to work-related activities in 2016/2017. Nearly half of these occurred on railways while a further 14 happened within the Health and Social Work sector.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Under these regulations which reinforce the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, employers must make risk assessments around workers and the workplace, appoint people to oversee health and safety and provide information and training to keep employees safe. However, these regulations are only useful if they are enforced, and since 2014 when the Government changed the law in favour of employers and their insurers, a breach of workplace regulations does not create civil liability.

An example of a breach under the Regulations, as reported by the HSE website, at the start of February a partner in a farming company was sentenced after one of his workers fell from a height. The employee suffered multiple fractures and internal injuries in 2016, while he was checking a unit attached to a grain drying facility. The HSE inspector said, ‘This incident could so easily have been avoided by planning ahead and putting in place suitable control measures and safe working practices. Those in control[…] have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training’.

Another report describes how a 26-year-old employee was crushed to death while examining a crane. The company was fined a substantial sum after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. The principal HSE inspector said, ‘ This tragic loss of life could have been avoided had the company adhered to and enforced its own safety procedures. Despite two previous [similar] incidents […] the company failed to ][…] act on safety recommendations’.

Companies must Invest in Health & Safety

Ethics and morality aside, companies in the private sector cannot afford to disregard the health and safety of their employees. In the UK, each year workplace injuries and illnesses cost around £15 billion. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the world’s biggest professional health and safety membership organisation, has shown industry leaders that an investment in the well-being of employees by providing a supportive environment where health is taken seriously can positively influence the bottom line. Indeed, the IOSH has estimated that for every £1 invested in occupational health and safety generates a return of £2.20.

By definition, an accident is unexpected and unintentional. Employers can act according to the law and in good faith and still tragedy can occur. Sadly, all the rules and regulations in the world cannot bring the workplace fatalities rate to zero. However, being mindful of health and safety can certainly reduce the number of people who leave for work in the morning and never come home.

To speak with a lawyer in the personal injury department about an injury you have sustained call us on 020 7485 8811 or fill in our online form.

Share this article


Related InsightsVIEW ALL

  1. Forklift truck accident claim settled

    Accident at work claim settled for Hungarian factory...

    Forklift trucks are a common cause of warehouse injury claims due to human error on the part of the forklift...

    Read more
  2. Tractor at work on a field

    £250,000 settlement for client injured in forklift accident

    Sophie Davies, a specialist personal injury lawyer at Osbornes Law, recently represented a client who suffered life-changing injuries following a...

    Read more
  3. Accidente en almacén

    Accident at Work Compensation Examples

    £20,000 for burn injury claim Enviro-Strip (UK) Ltd have been ordered to pay £20,000 in accident-at-work compensation after a worker suffered an...

    Read more
  4. green traffic light

    Fatal Accident Case Studies

    Settlement for Pedestrian Killed Crossing the Road Laura Swaine, an Associate at Osbornes Law, acted on behalf of a family...

    Read more
  5. Asian women holding a photo frame of lost loved one and crying.

    Bereavement Support Payment

    What are Bereavement Support Payments? Bereavement Support Payments are a benefit historically only available to parents whose husband, wife or...

    Read more
  6. shopping bags

    £100,000 settlement for tripping at work

    Osbornes Law secures £100,000 settlement for Hungarian woman who tripped over a shopping bag at work Siobhan McIvor, a Partner in...

    Read more
  7. factory worker

    £165,000 settlement for factory accident

    Siobhan McIvor, a Partner in the Personal Injury Department of Osbornes Law, has settled a £165,000 accident at work claim, with...

    Read more
  8. steak being cooked

    Kitchen Accident Claim

    Our client, a hospitality supervisor instructed Osbornes after he slipped and fell on oil and food debris on the floor...

    Read more
  9. 18.5.2021

    Construction Site Accident at Work

    Our client suffered numerous fractures to their left leg requiring surgery following a work accident on a construction site. He...

    Read more
  10. 18.5.2021

    Compensation for Amputation on Construction Site

    Our client worked as a carpenter/bricklayer on a building site at a residential property in North London. He was...

    Read more
  11. water ripple

    Death due to fishing accident settled for £125,000

    Fatal Accident case following the death of Mr D who drowned as a result of a boat collision in the...

    Read more
  12. tractor

    Farming accidents high risk for self-employed

    Agriculture represents a dangerous industry in the UK, and according to the Health and Safety Executive’s report 2020/2021, farm deaths...

    Read more
  13. Accidente en almacén

    Fatal Accidents In The Workplace

    A new article from the BBC takes a looked at fatal accidents at work. The report states that since 1981, there...

    Read more
  14. white lily

    Young female pedestrian killed in road accident

    Sam Collard, an Associate in the Osbornes serious injury team, recently settled a fatal accident claim brought on behalf of...

    Read more
  15. accidente de construccion

    Lasting damage to ankle following construction accident settles...

    Sam Collard, a Partner in the Osbornes’ catastrophic injury team, recently settled a construction accident claim for a Romanian man...

    Read more
  16. injury at work

    Self-Employed Injury At Work

    Claim for an accident as a self-employed worker Being self-employed has advantages, including independence, creative freedom, job satisfaction and control...

    Read more
  17. accident at work injury

    Changes to employer’s liability for work accidents

    As it now stands employers are automatically liable for some workplace injuries, (without the Claimant having to prove “fault”) is...

    Read more
  18. building site

    Basement fatality convictions highlight health and safety regulations

    Conrad Sidebottom, 46, and Richard Golding, 43, were jailed for their part in causing the death of Anghel Milosavlevici. Osbornes Law partner...

    Read more