Scotland suffers 70% increase in workplace fatalities

New figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have revealed that workplace deaths went up 70% in Scotland last year.

5 Jul 2019| News

In 2018-19, 17 of the nation’s workers suffered fatal injuries at work. In the following 12 months, this rocketed to 29 fatalities.

A spokesperson for occupational health and safety charity, Scottish Hazards, was quoted by the Morning Star explaining that this “significant increase” is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem.

“We have to remind everyone this does not include deaths at work investigated by other regulators, those killed in road traffic incidents occurring in the course of their work, those who are so pushed to the depths of despair by work they take their own lives, and thousands who lose their lives every year as a result of occupational diseases and cancers such as mesothelioma.”

Workplace deaths in Scotland accounted for around a fifth of the total number across the UK, which was 147 last year – 20% of which occurred in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors.

Martin Temple, HSE Chairman, described the rates of fatalities in these industries as “worryingly high”, noting that these sectors provide only a “small fraction” of UK jobs yet have a disproportionate impact on overall workplace deaths.

“This is unacceptable and more must be done to prevent such fatalities taking place,” he said.

The most at-risk workers are those who are older, with people aged 60+ accounting for a quarter of all workplace deaths.

Injuries most likely to result in death included falling from height and being hit by a moving vehicle or object.

The HSE’s report also revealed that 92 members of the public died due to accidents related to work, with a third of these occurring on railways.