The toll rises: 31 deaths in the manufacturing sector last year

Posted on 6 Jul 2012

There were 31 fatal injuries to workers in manufacturing between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012, higher than the five-year average of 29 deaths within the sector.

The latest rate of fatal injury is 1.1 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to an average rate of 0.9 over the previous five years.

A recent survey by JAM Recruitment emphasised how health and safety has been hit hard by the recession, with 41% of respondents saying that their budget had been cut this year and 45% stating that their company did not see health and safety as being ‘business critical’ during times of recession.

In response to the official 2011/12 worker fatality statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the British Safety Council has expressed serious concern that the reduction in the number of deaths at work has stalled over the last two years.

The total number of deaths caused by fatal injury across all sectors increased from the historically low figure of 147 deaths in 2009/10 to 175 in 2010/11 and 173 in 2011/12.

Neal Stone, director of policy and communications at the British Safety Council, said, “While the number of deaths in Britain resulting from workplace injury has halved over the last twenty years, it is a serious concern that the reduction in both the number and incidence of deaths has stalled over the last two years.

”The fatal injuries that occurred in 2011/12 are a tragedy and a stark reminder that the health and safety regulatory framework is a fundamental protection to help keep workers healthy and safe. We must remember those 173 workers and the families and friends they left behind.

The statistics record that 33 agricultural workers died as a result of fatal accidents in 2011/12 – with an incident rate sixteen times than that for all industrial sectors. There were 49 deaths within construction during the same period.

Agriculture, construction and manufacturing accounted for almost two-thirds of Britain’s workplace fatal injuries that year.

Falls from heights and falls continue to be the two most significant causes of fatal injury in the workplace – accounting for over half of the 173 deaths recorded in 2011/12.

Richard Evens, Commercial Training Director, at St John Ambulance stated: “It is encouraging to see that the number of workplace deaths in the UK has not risen this year, but we are disappointed that the figure has not reduced further, 173 deaths is still too many.”