The number of manufacturing workers killed on the job last year has fallen by over a third compared to the previous 12 months, according to official statistics published yesterday.
Provisional data released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveals that 148 workers were fatally injured between April 2012 and March 2013, compared with 172 in the previous year.
The overall rate of fatal injury has dropped to 0.5 per 100,000 workers, below the five-year average of 0.6.
Manufacturing fatalities decreased by a third from 31 in 2011/12 to 20 in 2012/13.
Britain has had one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers in leading industrial nations in Europe consistently for the last eight years.
“These figures are being published in the same week as the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster, and are a reminder to us all of why health and safety is so important,” said the HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt. “Although the number of people killed at work has dropped significantly, last year 148 people failed to return home to their loved ones.
“The fact that Britain continues to have one of the lowest levels of workplace fatalities in Europe will be of little consolation to those who lose family members, friends and work colleagues.
“HSE is striving to make health and safety simpler and clearer for people to understand so that more people do what is required to manage the real risks that cause death and serious injury.”
Richard Evens, Commercial Training Director at St John Ambulance commented on the figures saying that first aid training is also very important to prevent workplace deaths.
“Despite this improvement, the number of needless deaths is too many,” said Mr Evans. “If UK employers want to continue reducing the impact of these tragic workplace incidents, it is essential that they provide basic first aid training and equipment for their employees, so that they can act in an emergency.
“In the event of an emergency, first aid can be the difference between life and death, so by providing employees with the skills to help, businesses can genuinely save lives. With up to 140,000 people dying in situations where first aid could have given them the chance to live, the need for these skills cannot be overstated.”
The new figures also show the rate of fatal injuries in several key industrial sectors:
- 20 fatal injuries to manufacturing workers were recorded – lower than the five-year average (28). The latest rate of fatal injury is 0.7 per 100,000 workers, compared to an average rate of 0.9 over the previous five years and a decrease from 31 recorded in 2011/12.
- 39 fatal injuries to construction workers were recorded – a rate of 1.9 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to an average of 53 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the 48 deaths recorded in 2011/12.
- 29 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded – a rate of 8.8 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to an average of 36 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the 35 deaths recorded in 2011/12.
- 10 fatal injuries to waste and recycling workers were recorded – a rate of 8.2 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to an average of 6 deaths in the past five years and an increase from the 5 deaths recorded in 2011/12.