HSE’s 2020/21 Workplace Fatality Figures Released
3rd August 2021
In July, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released its provisional data for workplace fatalities, with data showing that 142 workers were killed whilst at work in Great Britain in 2020/21. This is a surprisingly high number given that some form of Coronavirus lockdown was in place for the majority of the reference period. The number of fatalities was an increase of 29 from 2019/20’s figures, however figures from that year were low compared to previous years.
What these figures highlight is that the number of fatalities has remained stable over the past five years, there has been no significant increase or decrease of note. The average number of workplace deaths from 2016 to 2021 is 136.
Despite this slight increase, Great Britain remains one of the safest places to work in the world, with a long-term reduction in fatalities year on year for the past two decades. It should be noted however, that these figures, do not take into account occupational exposure to disease, which obviously would include COVID-19 over the past year.
Speaking of these statistics, Chief Executive at HSE, Sarah Albon, has said:
“Whilst the working world in which we now live has created new health challenges for workers and for those who have a duty towards them, safety must also remain a priority. Whilst the picture has improved considerably over the longer term and Great Britain is one of the safest places to work in the world, every loss of life is a tragedy and we are committed to ensuring that workplaces are as safe as they can be and that employers are held to account and take their obligations seriously.”
Falls from height remains the most common cause of fatal injuries within the workplace, with 35 deaths in the past year. Whilst figures for this have dropped significantly over the past 20 years, it is still 35 deaths too many, and this demonstrates why strict controls should be applied to all work at height activity.