Work Related fatalities in the 12 months to March 2021 up by almost a third 
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has reported in the 12 months to 31 March 2021, 142 workers in GB lost their lives at work, compared to the record low of 111 in 2019/2020. 
This increase is seen against a background of furloughed workers, Covid 19 affecting work generally and an accompanied 10% reduction in weekly hours worked (ONS figures). Last year’s low has been linked to the slow economic activity during the first wave of the pandemic in March 2020. Also, this year’s figure has risen above the 5-year average of 136 workplace fatalities, suggesting that safety standards have fallen. In addition, Covid 19 deaths have not been included in figures. 
The construction, agriculture and manufacturing sectors have all recorded an increase in fatalities in the 12 months to March 2021, construction 39 deaths, agriculture 34 and manufacturing 20. Comparisons with earlier years however is difficult due the effects of the pandemic. 
The reason for this increase is unclear, it may be due to the introduction of Covid 19 measures, or it could be due to the pressures of the pandemic overwhelming workplace safety matters. 
However, the causes of accidents were similar as in previous years, the three highest causes of fatalities were falls from height (35), being struck by a moving vehicle (25) and being struck by a moving object (17). Together, they account for more than half of fatalities. Also as in previous years, nearly all the fatalities, 138 out of 142, were men. 41 of the 142 deaths, or 30%, were workers aged 60 and over. As this group represents 11% of the total workforce, the figures highlight the link between older workers and fatal risk. 
The proportion of fatal injuries among the self-employed also increased from 31% (2019/20) to 38% of worker fatalities in 2020/21, even though the self-employed again only account for 16% of the workforce. 
On the other hand, the death toll among the public linked to work activities was obviously lower, with 60 killed in work-related incidents in 2020/21 compared to 92 the previous year. 
However, the HSE argues that when viewed against the levels recorded in the recent past, the figures indicate a generally flat fatal injury rate. Despite this we still encourage employers to ensure that they are managing the health and safety risks. This includes any new risks that may be presented through new ways of working, technology, or equipment. 
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