Think Health and Safety Isn’t Important? Think Again
If you’re one of those people that rolls your eyes when health and safety is mentioned in your workplace, you’re probably not alone. But no matter how much the rules and regulations make you want to tear your hair out, they’re there for a reason.
137 workers were killed at work in Britain in 2016-7 according to the Health and Safety Executive. There’s no doubt that sometimes, bad things happen, but some accidents are avoidable. Here’s the lowdown on the most common workplace accidents in the UK, and what you can do to prevent them from occurring in your workplace.
The top fatal accidents
The accidents that most commonly caused fatalities are as follows:
Fatal accidents by industry
Construction- 30 deaths. This is high as expected, though construction is an inherently more dangerous industry. 30 deaths is the lowest number on record for the industry, believe it or not.
Waste and recycling- 14 deaths. This has almost doubled since 2015-16 when there were 6 deaths. However, there were 5 deaths in one incident in 2016-17 which accounts for the increase.
Communication, Business Services, and finance- 8 deaths
Public administration; education; human health and social work activities- 6 deaths
Mining and quarrying- 4 deaths
Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning- 3 deaths
Fatalities by gender and age
In 2016/17, 97% of all worker fatalities were to male workers, around a quarter of which were to workers aged 60 and over, even though they only account for 10% of the workforce.
Fatalities by location
Scotland had the highest number of fatalities at 19, and in England, the East and West Midlands had the highest number of fatalities at 17 and 15 deaths respectively. Some industries are located in certain areas, and some industries are just more dangerous, for example, Scotland has a lot of heavy industry like shipbuilding.
Strange workplace accidents
Thankfully, fatal accidents are not common, but silly accidents are more common. Even people who work for the Health and Safety Executive aren’t immune. The Daily Mail reported that recorded incidents included someone being hit by a falling toilet roll holder, and someone who suffered a groin strain after they tripped over a wet floor sign.
Tips for preventing workplace accidents