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IIRSM Response to HSE Fatal Injury Stats 2012-13

21 October 2013

The HSE has released provisional figures for the number of fatal workplace accidents for the period 2012-13.

Following the increase in 2011-12 the figure has come down from 172 to 148 which represents a frequency of 0.5 deaths per 100,000 workers. It is encouraging to see that this figure is not only lower than last year but is lower than the average frequency for the last five years (0.6 per 100,000). It is also interesting and encouraging that this reduction is reflected in data for specific industries with the exception of waste and recycling where the rate is 8.2 deaths per 100,000 as against the five year average of 4.7. However, this is a sector where there is volatility from year to year. In the sectors which are traditionally viewed as ‘dangerous’, construction and agriculture, the 2012-13 figures show a marked reduction over both the previous year and the five year average.

Internationally, the report confirms that the figures for fatal injuries in Great Britain compare favourably with other EU states with the five year average being the lowest overall, while for the last year where comparable data was available for all states, 2010, only Slovakia and the Netherlands had lower frequencies.

For comparison purposes attempts have been made to exclude deaths due to road traffic accidents from the figures for those countries which include these accidents. This raises a question on which safety professionals have commented for a while, namely whether the UK should include deaths resulting from accidents including business travel. Given the mileage performed by drivers on business, this is an issue which ought to be reconsidered, especially as the scope of corporate manslaughter would cover such incidents.

Whilst excluding deaths from road traffic accidents, the HSE report considers the number of deaths due to rail incidents. Of 406 deaths listed under ‘services’ 310 related to members of the public and included suicides and those arising from trespass. However these figures arise from RIDDOR even though rail incidents are reported and investigated through the Office of Rail Regulation.

You can view the HSE stats here