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The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) today ...
The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) today

called for action from all sections of industry following the

publication of the latest workplace statistics which show a 4%

increase in the number of deaths at work last year (see below).

New Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics report that 235

people were killed at work in 2003/04, eight more than in the

previous year. 9% of all fatal injuries to workers occurred in one

single incident when 21 people drowned while harvesting cockles in

Morecambe Bay in February.

HSC chair Bill Callaghan said:

'I am disappointed that there has been no

improvement in the number of reported fatalities this year- behind

these aggregate figures represent 235 individual tragedies. These can

be avoided, but often simple measures, ones that can prevent

accidents are not being put in place.

'Clearly the results of this year's report show falls from height

remain a big safety problem, but incidents such as Morecambe Bay

raise new issues. HSE has been working with industry to provide

guidance in this area of work as the investigation continues. All

workers whatever their nationality or employment status are subject

to the protection and responsibilities of health and safety law.

'Falls from height continue to account for a large proportion of

fatal injuries to all workers amounting to 29% (67) of all incidents

in 2003/04. This represents the first upturn in three years and the

results confirm that fatal falls can and do occur across all sectors

of industry with construction and services sectors presenting

particular problems. Our falls from height programme will continue

with a strategy of pilot projects and sector-based approaches aimed

at maintaining the general downward trend. Implementation by the end

of the year of the proposed Work at Height Regulations will feed

other planned activity.

'There were 70 construction fatalities this reporting year - no

change from last year. However, employment has increased in

construction and the fatal injury rate fell to 3.55 deaths per

hundred thousand workers, the lowest level on record.

'Being struck by a moving vehicle is also one of the common causes of

fatality for workers, increasing from 39 to 44. Segregation of

vehicles and pedestrians and reversing vehicles remain the most

frequent hazards. However, we are developing and sharing best

practice with industry and others to take action for safer vehicle

design, selection and maintenance, better site layout and better

driver training.

'The fatal statistics are one part of a composite indicator that go

to show the overall picture of British industry's health and safety

performance. Injury statistics, which are published later this year,

will give further indications of how British industry is performing.

These figures show that HSC/E's chosen priorities, as set out in the

strategy document are correct and that concentrating on these key

hazards in the workplace is the right thing to do. HSE and local

authorities are concentrating their efforts on clear priorities. I

look now to our stakeholders to take action.

'Great Britain has the second lowest rate of workplace fatalities in

the European Union, beaten only by Sweden, but this should not be

taken as a call for complacency. Most accidents can be easily

prevented, though this needs the commitment of senior managers and

the involvement of employees and the union representatives. These are

the people who are best placed to achieve improvements. HSC/E are

committed to being a good partner - working with others to improve

health and safety, but this needs the support of industry to make

sensible health and safety the cornerstone of a civilized society.'



The Health & Safety Commission (HSC) today publishes the latest

detailed statistics on fatal injuries in HSE and local authority (LA)

enforced sectors in 2003/04 - Statistics of Fatal Injuries 2003/2004.

The document can be found at

Fatal Injuries to Workers

The figures show that the number of fatally injured workers increased

by 4% to 235 in 2003/04 from 227 in 2002/03. The rate of fatal

injury also increased by 3% in 2003/04 to 0.81 per hundred thousand

workers: the corresponding figure for 2002/03 is 0.79. There was a

general downward trend in the rate in the 1990s, however it has risen

twice since then, in 2000/01 and in 2003/04.

Nine percent of all fatal injuries to workers in 2003/04 occurred in

one single incident when 21 people drowned while harvesting cockles

at Morecambe Bay in February.

In 2000, the most recent year for which comparable data are

available, the rate of fatal injury to workers in Great Britain was

among the lowest of European Union member states.

In 2003/04, 114 (49%) of worker fatalities occurred in the two

industries of construction (70) and agriculture, forestry and fishing


Falling from a height continues to be the most common kind of

accident, accounting for 29% of fatal injuries to workers in 2003/04.

The number of fatal injuries of this kind increased in 2003/04 from

50 to 67. Being struck by a moving vehicle and being struck by a

moving or falling object are the next most common kinds of fatal



In agriculture, forestry and fishing, the number of fatal injuries to

workers increased to 44 in 2003/04 from 36 in 2002/03. Of the 44

deaths, 21 occurred at Morecambe Bay. The rate of fatal injury to

workers also increased from 9.6 per hundred thousand workers in

2002/03 to 11.4 per in 2003/04.

In construction in 2003/04, there were 70 fatal injuries to workers -

the same number as in 2002/03. The rate of fatal injury to workers

fell from 3.8 to 3.5 per hundred thousand workers, reflecting an

increase in the number of workers. This is the lowest level on


In manufacturing, the number of fatal injuries to workers fell for

the third consecutive year, from43 in 2002/03 to 31 in 2003/04. The

rate of fatal injury to workers also fell in 2003/04 from 1.2 to 0.9

per hundred thousand workers and is the lowest level seen in the

period 1992/93 to 2003/04.

In service industries in 2003/04, there were 80 fatal injuries to

workers, an increase from 75 in 2002/03. The rate of fatal injury to

workers rose from 0.33 per hundred thousand workers to 0.35 in

2003/04. This is the second year in which both the number and rate

of fatal injury have increased. The services sector comprises a wide

range of activities and whilst the numbers of fatal injuries

fluctuate year-on-year in many industries, the number in land

transport has risen from 16 in 2001/02 to 24 in 2003/04.

In extractive and utility supply industries in 2003/04, there were 10

fatal injuries to workers, compared with 3 in 2002/03 and 14 in

2001/02. In 2003/04, the rate of fatal injury is 5.1 per hundred

thousand workers, compared with 1.5 in 2002/03 and 6.5 in 2001/02.

The rate of fatal injury in this industry is more susceptible to

fluctuation due to the small number of fatalities involved. The 10

deaths in 2003/04 occurred in the supply of gas and electricity (2);

open-cast coal working (2); the extraction of crude petroleum/natural

gas (3); and other mining and quarrying (3).

For the combined three-year period of 2001/02 to 2003/04, the

industries with the highest rate of fatal injury to employees include

the recycling of waste and scrap (27.7 per hundred thousand

employees); the mining of coal, lignite and extraction of peat

(12.3); and the extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas (9.1).

Fatal Injuries to Members of the Public

The number of members of the public fatally injured in 2003/04 is

371, of which 240 resulted from acts of suicide or trespass on

railways. For 2002/03, the corresponding figures were 396 and 257

respectively. In 2003/04, of the non-railway fatal injuries, 79 were

in the services industry, of which 45 occurred in health and social

work. The corresponding figures for 2002/03 were 83 and 47



1. The reporting of health and safety incidents at work is a

statutory requirement, set out under the Reporting of Injuries,

Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). A

reportable incident includes: a death or major injury; any accident

which does not result in major injury, but the injured person still

has to take three or more days off their normal work to recover; a

work-related disease; a member of the public being injured as a

result of work-related activity and taken to hospital for treatment;

or a dangerous occurrence (which does not result in a serious injury,

but could have done).

2. As well as giving data for Great Britain, the statistics released

today include statistics for Wales, Scotland and the regions of

England, together with statistics relating to European Union member


Copies of Statistics of Fatal Injuries 2003/04 are free and can be

ordered from the Corporate Science and Analytical Services

Directorate, Safety and Enforcement Statistics Unit, Health and

Safety Executive, Room 403, Daniel House, Bootle, Merseyside L20 3TW,

tel: 0151 951 3864/4600, fax: 0152 951 3827. The book is also

available online at

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