Rate of fatal injuries drops to lowest level

The number of workers fatally injured has fallen to its lowest ever level, decreasing by 7% to 220 in 2004-05, according to the latest annual figures from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

The fall – from 236 in 2003-04 – came as the rate of fatal injuries also decreased by the same percentage to 0.75 per 100,000 workers, from 0.81 before.

The HSE said the figures are the lowest on record, and that there has been a general downward trend in the rate since the 1990s, although there were upward blips in 2000-01 and 2003-04.

However, more than half (52%) of these fatalities occurred in just two industries: construction (with 72 deaths) and agriculture (42).

Falls from height continued to be the most common type of accident, accounting for 24% of fatal injuries to workers in 2004-05, said the HSE.

Health and Safety Commission chairman Bill Callaghan said all sections of industry still had more to do to improve their control of risk.

“Although we are making progress, I remain concerned that so many people continue to lose their lives at work,” he said.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber added: “Even if the rate is falling, the figures for some industries, such as construction and agriculture, are still very high. We hope that there will be strong enforcement action in these sectors to bring the rate down further.”

Go to www.hse.gov.uk

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