Following on from the HSE’s recently published annual figures for work-related fatal injuries during 2018/19 it is hugely concerning that in this day and age a total of 147 people were killed going to at work. This is an increase on the previous year.
We thought it was appropriate to highlight the main causes of workplace fatalities. Many of our clients undertake work where these hazards are commonplace and these figures provide us with a sobering reminder of the need to ensure that robust controls are in place to manage them.
Falling from Height
The No. 1 type of fatal accident in 2018/19 with 40 of the 147 people unfortunately killed this way are falls from height.
Falling from height is a significant risk to workers, especially for those of us working in the construction industry. Working at height while using ladders, podiums and scaffolding etc. can put the user in a position of significant risk which can be avoided with some simple preparation and controls implemented.
Struck by Moving Vehicles & Objects
Being struck by either a moving vehicle or an object took caused 30 and 16 fatalities respectively.
Objects falling from above, reversing vehicles and contact with debris are some of the biggest contributors to worker injury and can all be easily avoided.
It should be obvious, but don’t walk in front of moving vehicles and walk behind them instead, regardless of speed. Make sure that you can clearly see any vehicles that are moving around and make eye contact with the driver/operator to ensure that they know you are there.
Struck by Falling Moving Objects
In terms of falling moving, including flying or falling objects, ensure that materials and equipment being stored at height are properly secured. Keep a safe distance whenever objects are being lifted by machinery and, where practicable, use nets to catch any debris that could fall and hurt someone.
As with the majority of entries on this list, the correct PPE is absolutely crucial to the wellbeing of any employee and hard hats and steel toe capped boots should be worn by everyone on site.
Plant & Equipment
Injuries caused by moving machinery and equipment were also among the most common causes of workplace fatalities and unfortunately resulted in 14 people losing their lives.
Working with machinery can be dangerous and the risks of use include trapped or crushed body parts and punctured skin which has also caused 11 fatal accidents at work. Without the right training or a lack of maintenance/upkeep, the potential for serious injury is huge.
In order to avoid this, suitable training is absolutely crucial. Make sure that every employee who is operating plant or equipment has the skills, knowledge and experience to do so in a safe manner.
All equipment should also be subject to a regular maintenance and inspection regime.
Exposure to asbestos can have fatal consequences. While not an instant killer, the long term effects of exposure are deadly. This has been clearly highlighted again this year where Mesothelioma, caused by previous exposure, actually killed 2,523 in the UK in 2017, so it’s not something to take lightly.
According to the HSE, asbestos still kills around 5,000 workers each year.
Asbestos tends to be found in buildings that were built before 2000 and over exposure can result in lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Before working on a site that potentially has asbestos, a survey should be taken to assess whether or not work can be carried out with no risks of exposure. Identify who could be exposed, and the amount of asbestos on a property.
Asbestos Awareness training is also essential for operatives that may potentially come in to contact with it and is intended to help workers avoid carrying out work that could disturb asbestos.
Other Statistics Coming From The Report
When we looked further into this report, we ended up finding out some interesting statistics.
For example, construction had up until recently contributed the most towards workplace fatalities, but this year’s numbers show that the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries had a lot more fatal injuries and incidents.
It’s a great thing that the construction industry is improving it’s practises and workers are being looked after, but what has gone wrong in the agriculture industry to result in these numbers?
We also found that the majority of people (107) that were injured over 2018 to 2019 were aged between 16 and 59 years old, with 37 people aged over 60. While there has been a significant reduction in the amount of fatal workplace injuries since 1981, there was actually 6 more deaths at work than 2017/18.
If you would like to find out more about how Amalgamate can support your business to manage H&S, give us a call on +44 (0)141 244 0181 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.