Accidents will happen

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Personal injury solicitors What’s My Claim Worth uncover what is behind many accidents at work, how they happen, and who they’re most likely to happen to

As much as we don’t really like to think about it, accidents at work can and do happen. Companies try and put as many safeguards in place as possible to reduce the risk of accidents (or at least they should do), but sometimes that’s just not enough.

A recent Freedom of Information request to the Health & Safety Executive by personal injury solicitors What’s My Claim Worth uncovered more behind the nature of accidents at work, how they happen, and who they’re most likely to happen to.

Fatal accidents

Let’s start with the most tragic of all workplace incidents – fatal accidents. Taking a look at figures from the HSE, during the period of 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015, there were 142 workplace deaths. This is slightly higher than the previous year, and according to provisional numbers from 2015/16, there looks to have been a slightly increase again to 144 deaths.

Despite this slight growth over the past two years, the general trend is a steady decline of fatal injuries at work, almost halving from just under 300 deaths in 1996/97.

And if we go even further back, the decrease is even more dramatic. Between 1974 and 1980, the average number of deaths at work was 545 per year, around four times higher than it is now.

So what caused these fatal injuries? You’re most likely to die at work due to a fall from height, with 41 such deaths, whilst 22 people were killed when struck by a moving vehicle, 20 deaths from being struck by a moving/falling object. 14 people were killed at work after being trapped by something collapsing or overturning.

The most dangerous industries

It seems you’re most likely to be killed at work if you work in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, which have a combined death rate of 8.04 deaths per 100,000 employees. Being even more specific, the rate goes up to 9.25 deaths in the crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities sub-sector.

In terms of injuries, it’s the water supply, sewerage and waste management industry where you have to be most careful, with an injury rate of 1,128 per 100,000 people. In particular, sewerage is especially troublesome, with a rate of 1,824 injuries.

If you work in the manufacturing industry, then you’re most likely to be killed in the manufacture of non-metallic mineral products (3.43/100,000) and injured in the manufacture of food products (1,001.5/100,000).

The services industry, which covers a very wide range of jobs, is considered the safest, with a rate of only 0.19 deaths (again per 100,000). Of all the industries covered under the umbrella of services, the rental and leasing activities industry is most likely to kill you, whilst the warehousing and support activities for transportation industry has a high injury rate of 1,705.6.

Looking at how these injuries are being suffered, the most common is being injured whilst handling, lifting or carrying, with 16,018 such injuries lasting longer than seven days. Not too far behind is injuries caused by slips, trips and falls, with 13,646 injuries again lasting longer than seven days.

According the HSE facts and figures, you’re most likely to injure your hand or arm in some way when at work, with 28,442 injuries of this nature in 2015/16. However, back injuries are the most common for a single area of the body, with 13,242 injuries over the same time period.

As for who is most likely to be injured or killed at work, it’s the older generation who need to take care.

Those over 65 years of age have a fatality rate at work of 2.46 deaths per 100,000 people. This is more than double the next highest age group of 16-19 year olds, with a rate of 1.07. Interestingly, the numbers for both of these age groups has increased over the past couple of years.

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