HM Insights

Most recent HSE deaths in workplace statistics

Health and Safety statistics released in July 2016 show that 144 people were killed while at work in the UK in 2015-16. These latest figures show an increase in the number of people by 2 on the previous year. The 2015-16 figures are provisional and could rise or fall, with the final figures due to be released in July 2017.

The Health and Safety Executive is the UK's national regulator for workplace health and safety. Despite an overall rise in the fatality figures for the UK, in particular in the manufacturing sector, there has been a decrease in fatal injuries in Scotland where the number of people killed at work in Scotland has dropped from 19 to 16.

However despite the decrease in the number of people being killed in Scotland as a result of workplace accidents, England continues to have a lower rate of fatalities than Scotland or Wales. In England the fatal injury rate was 0.42 (115 fatalities) compared to 0.6 in Scotland (16 fatalities).

Scottish fatal accidents

A breakdown of these Scottish deaths show 

  • Out of the 16 people killed, 15 were male
  • Out of the 16 people killed, 10 were employed and 6 were self- employed

The 16 deaths occurred in the following industry sectors

Agriculture, forestry and fishing - 7 
Construction - 3 
Manufacturing - 2 
Mining & Quarrying - 1 
Services - 3 

The provisional report indicates that the UK is still considered one of the safest places to work in Europe, however notwithstanding that, a rise in the number of people killed in the UK workplace for the second year in a row indicates the need for the most stringent health and safety law enforcement to keep people safe at work.

Impact of these figures

Elaine Russell, Partner in Harper Macleod's Personal Injury and Reparation department said:"Whilst is pleasing to see that the number of workplace fatalities has decreased in Scotland since last year, the impact that one death has on family, friends, colleagues and communities can never be underestimated.

Through the representation of people who have been killed or injured as a result of workplace accidents we see the devastating effect of unsafe working practices. Behind every statistic lies a family who are lost and heartbroken.

Improvements on safety standards need to be focused upon especially in the sectors where the number of deaths has increased as a continuing increase is simply unacceptable.

Health and safety law needs to be a priority for the government, for all employers and employers should have liability insurance in place for when accidents happen. If this isn't taking place then we would call upon employers to be accountable."

Once the finalised figures are released in July 2017 it is hoped that the figures show that the figures given for Scotland in this provisional report show a downward trend for fatal accidents in the workplace in Scotland.

Read the full statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive -