Each year, the Health and Safety Executive's report is published which provides information regarding work-related fatalities for the previous year. On 6 July 2023, the report was published detailing fatal injuries which occurred between 2022 and 2023. The report is available to read on the HSE's website.
It is reported that 135 workers were killed in work related accidents between April 2022 and March 2023. This compares with 123 individuals who were killed in work-related accidents in 2021/2022. Looking at 2022 and 2023, the 135 deaths can be broken down by industry: Construction accounts for 45 deaths, followed closely by Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing, and Manufacturing which account for 21 and 15 deaths respectively. Other industries which appear in the report include Transport & Storage, Waste & Recycling, and perhaps surprisingly, Admin' & Support Services, in which 6 deaths were reported in this industry. The ranking of industries is mostly the same as in 2021/2022, with the top three industries responsible for deaths at work being Construction, Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing, and Manufacturing.
Of the deaths reported in 2022/2023, almost 75% of the individuals were aged between 16 and 59, while almost all of the others were aged over 60. The majority of the fatal injuries were suffered by male workers, with only 4% of fatal accidents involving females.
The HSE's report provides information regarding the types of accidents which caused deaths in the past year. The most common kind of fatal accident is a fall from height, which remains the highest ranking accident from the 2021/2022 figures. Almost 25% of the other accidents involved machinery, be it struck by a moving vehicle or contact with moving machinery. Of the accidents reported, 12 involved an individual being trapped by something collapsing or overturning. It is also interesting to note that 5 accidents involved injury by an animal, 2 involved exposure to an explosion, 1 involved exposure to fire, and 1 involved acts of violence.
It is also noted that 68 members of the public were killed in work-related accident, although this figure excludes deaths in healthcare and social care settings. In 2021/2022, 80 members of the public were killed in work-related accidents.
The HSE noted that the rate of fatal injury to workers showed a downward trend since the mid 1980s, but had remained stable in the years prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The current rate is broadly in line with pre-pandemic levels.
In 2019/2020, there were 113 workplace deaths. This figure rose to 145 in 2020/2021, and then dropped to 123 in 2021/2022. However, in 1981, a shocking 495 workplace deaths were recorded.
In the period 2018/2019 to 2022/2023, the HSE reports that around one-third of fatal injuries to workers were to those who were self-employed. It is also worth noting that self-employed individuals made up only 15% of the workforce during this time period.
Workplace Accidents in Scotland
Of the accidents reported between April 2022 and March 2023, 26 deaths took place in Scotland. The annual average from the data reported between 2018/2019 to 2022/2023 is 19, meaning they were more deaths in the previous year than would have been expected. From the 26 fatal accidents, 4 involved self-employed individuals. Of the deaths reported, England account for 94, while Wales accounts for 15. The HSE reports that there is a greater proportion of people working in lower risk jobs in Scotland than in England.
What to do if someone you know has died in a workplace accident?
The report is useful in providing information about the trends of workplace accidents, but its main purpose is to highlight ongoing risks and to ensure accidents like those reported are avoided.
If you have lost of member of your family in a fatal accident, you may be entitled to compensation. "Loss of society" is a financial award intended to compensate family members for the death of a loved one. The award is given only when the death was wrongful i.e. where there was negligence involved on the part of another, for example in an accident or because of professional negligence. This award applies to Scotland only. England has its own award known as a bereavement award.
It compensates family members for the stress, anxiety, grief, sorrow and loss of society that relatives endure on the wrongful death of a loved one. There are other damages that family members may also claim, such as the loss of the financial support of the deceased and the funeral costs.
It is important that you take time to consider who you wish to instruct. The process of making a claim can take several years, particularly if your case is complex, and so it's crucial to instruct someone you feel comfortable with, who is also able to provide support and get the best outcome for you. Our experienced Personal Injury team will take the time to assess your claim and can help you get the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today on 0131 247 1000 or through our personal injury compensation enquiry form.
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