HSE report shows worrying rise in fatal falls from height

The HSE has released the latest statistics regarding deaths at work in the UK, revealing an alarming increase in deaths caused by work at height.

HSE statistics show that a total of 40 workers suffered a fatal injury as a result of a fall from height in 2018/2019, making it the single biggest cause of workplace fatal injuries in the UK.

In 2017/2018, 35 workers died due to a fall from height.

Overall, a total of 147 workers were killed at work in 2018/2019, a rise of 6 fatalities from 2017/2018.

Speaking on behalf of the Access Industry Forum, PASMA’s Managing Director, Peter Bennett OBE said: “whilst we welcome the UK continues to consistently have one of the lowest rates of fatal injury across the EU, the figures released today are still too high. There should be absolutely no question or doubt over workers’ ability to return home safely to their families every evening.”

All Party Parliamentary Group response

These statistics come just a few months after the All Party Parliamentary Group on Working at Height, which is made up of a non-partisan group of MPs and oversees safe working practices at height in the UK, released its report on the sector and made several recommendations, including:

  • The introduction of enhanced reporting
  • The appointment of an independent body
  • An equivalent system to Scotland’s Fatal Accident Inquiry process

Chair of the APPG and MP for Glasgow Central Alison Thewliss said: “these statistics show this issue is not going away. It is imperative that the Government takes forward the recommendations made in our report which have been devised with input from industry and key stakeholders”.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to safety in the workplace, and we need to ensure these actions are taken forward as quickly as possible”

The statistics do show a decrease in total deaths caused by construction work, with 30 total fatalities, down on the annual five-year average of 36 and the lowest since modern records began back in 1981. However, construction retains its place as the second highest sector for number of deaths behind agriculture, forestry and fishing.

HSE Chair Martin Temple said: “This release of workplace fatality statistics is a reminder that despite the UK’s world leading position in health and safety, we cannot become complacent as we seek to fulfil our mission in preventing injury, ill health and death at work.”

One of the leading causes of fatalities when working at height is falls through fragile roofs. Safesite offers a range of fragile roof products when carrying out work on industrial, agricultural or older roofs which pose a significantly higher risk.

For more information about Safesite’s height safety products, call us on 01293 529977, or use our online contact form.

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