The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released its annual figures for the number of workplace fatality figures for 2019-20, as well as the number of people known to have died from the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, in 2018.

The provisional annual data for work-related fatal accidents revealed that 111 workers were fatally injured at work between April 2019 and March 2020 (a rate of 0.34 deaths per 100,000 workers), the lowest year on record.  This represents a fall of 38 deaths from the previous year, though it is likely that this fall was accentuated by the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the economy in the final two months of the year.

In line with previous years’ fatal injury statistics, these figures do not include deaths from occupational disease. Covid-19 infection is therefore not part of these figures and will not feature in fatal injury statistics in subsequent years.

While there has been a long-term reduction in the number of annual fatalities (the number has almost halved in the last 20 years), aside from the current fall, the number has remained broadly level in recent years.

How the Figures Breakdown


40 fatal injuries to construction workers were recorded, accounting for the largest share. However, over the last five years the number has fluctuated. The annual average for the past five years is 37. The annual average rate over the last five years in construction is around 4 times as high as the all industry rate.

Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

20 fatal injuries to agricultural, forestry and fishing workers were recorded, the lowest level on record. Despite this fall, this sector continues to account for a large share of the annual fatality count. It has the highest rate of fatal injury of all the main industry sectors, around 18 times as high as the all industry rate.

Waste & Recycling

5 fatal injuries to waste and recycling workers were recorded. Despite being a relatively small sector in terms of employment, the annual average fatal injury rate over the last five years is around 18 times as high as the all industry rate.

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Safe working within the Construction, Farming, Forestry and Waste Industries

Main Causes

The three most common causes of fatal injuries continue to be; workers falling from height (29), being struck by a moving vehicle (20) and being struck by a moving object (18), accounting for 60 per cent of fatal injuries in 2019/20.

Mesothelioma, which is contracted through past exposure to asbestos and is one of the few work-related diseases where deaths can be counted directly, killed 2446 in Great Britain in 2018. This is slightly lower than the average 2550 over the previous five years.

How to Minimise Risk

Regular training for employees should form an integral part of workplace safety management. Half day courses covering Safe Working at Heights, Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders & Manual Handling can be held at our training centre in Middlewich or on site at your premises. In addition we can provide training to cover Asbestos Awareness, Site Safety Awareness, COSHH, LOLER, PUWER & Risk Assessment, all of which will equip employees and employers with the tools and knowledge to make informed and balanced judgements regarding safety in the workplace.

HSE Statement

“No one should be hurt or killed by the work they do. In these extraordinary times, we have seen many workers risking their lives to help others during the coronavirus outbreak. Although these statistics are not a reflection on Covid-19 related loss of life, it is a pertinent time to reflect.

“Every workplace fatality is a tragedy and while we are encouraged by this improvement, today’s statistics is a reminder that we cannot become complacent as we look to continue to work together to make Great Britain an even safer place to live and work.”


If you’re at all worried about the statistics mentioned in this post or if Kentra can help with training courses please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Workplace Fatality Figures


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