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
'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.'
HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE
HSC/E PUBLISHES STATISTICS OF FATAL INJURIES FOR 2003/04
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