Sadly, accidents at work do happen. The most serious of these are fatal workplace accidents. The latest statistics from the Health & Safet Executive revealed that between April 2018 and March 2019 147 work related fatalities occurred. The largest number of fatalities occurred in the Construction and Agriculture industry sectors. These sectors accounted for 30 and 32 recorded deaths respectively. The sector responsible for the next highest number of fatalities was the manufacturing sector (26 in total).
The following five different types of accidents caused around 75% of the total fatalities:-
- Falls from height (40 deaths)
- Struck by a moving vehicle (30 deaths)
- Struck by a moving object (16 deaths)
- Contact with moving machinery (14 deaths)
- Trapped by something collapsing/overturning (11 deaths)
95% of all fatalities were male (139) in total. Further, 25% (37 people in total) involved fatal injuries to workers aged 60 or over. Workers aged 60-64 had a fatality rate almost twice as high as all other ages and workers over 65 had a fatality rate of over four times as high.
These types of accidents can largely be avoided by employers providing effective training, supervision, monitoring and clear documentation. Your employer has a general duty to ensure that their systems of work and the workplace environment protects their employees. In particular, an employer must provide:-
- A reasonably safe system of work
- A reasonably safe place of work
- Reasonably safe work equipment
- Reasonable training and instruction
There are several statutes and regulations which have been enacted to govern the health and safety regime in the workplace. These cover standards and duties with which employers must comply in almost every type of workplace and work activity.
It is important that risk assessments, safe systems of work and method statements are in place and even more importantly, that these are effectively communicated to employees.
Unfortunately, when these statutes and regulations are breached by employers, this can ultimately lead to workplace accidents.
Recently, a construction company, Cemex UK was held to account for a tragic incident in May 2017, when one of their employees, James Brownlie, was struck on the body by a "centering machine lifting mast". The machine ought to have been isolated prior to work being carried out. At a court hearing on 7 October 2019, the company were fined £1 million after pleading guilty to breaching two sections of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
How can we help?
If you have lost a loved one as a result of the workplace accident, you may be entitled to claim compensation. This is known as a claim for Loss of Society.