Fatal falls have increased in the UK
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Fatal falls have increased in the UK


In the UK, the Health & Safety Executive has released the latest statistics on fatalities at work, showing a 22 per cent increase in fatal falls from height.

Last year, a total of 50 people died in the UK due to falls from height at work, compared with 41 the previous year.

Fatal falls have increased in the UKFatal falls have increased in the UK

The last time fatal falls were at this level was in 2007/08, and since then fatal falls have fallen in some years before rising again. However, the figure for 2023/24 is 35 per cent higher than the five-year average.

Despite advances in height safety, ongoing campaigns and growing awareness of the risks associated with working at height, falls from height remain the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the UK, accounting for 36 per cent of the 138 fatal accidents last year. More worryingly, the percentage of falls from height has continued to rise from 25 to 30 per cent and now accounts for 36 per cent of all workplace accidents.

Interestingly, the biggest increase in fatal falls – 44 per cent – ​​was among the self-employed, from 18 deaths last year to 26 this year, which for the first time exceeded the number of deaths among employees.

The Access Industry Forum (AIF) has attempted to establish whether the increase is due to issues such as faulty equipment, lack of training or neglect, but has failed to reach a conclusion with poor reporting. It is therefore calling for a simplified reporting system to more accurately reflect the cause of workplace accidents, so that informed preventative measures can be implemented to tackle the problem of falls from height.

Chairman Peter Bennett said: “The latest HSE fatal injury figures paint an overwhelmingly grim picture. It is clear that something is wrong. Most falls from height are avoidable, but only if we understand what causes them. Very little information is provided about the circumstances of fatal (and non-fatal) incidents, and current reports focus on the type of incident rather than what caused it. This needs to change if we are to address the worsening problem of worker deaths and the number of people suffering the life-changing consequences of falls from height.”

Full reports
Click here to read the full HSE report, which can be read online and/or downloaded.

Also: Types of accidents in GB