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HSE workplace fatality statistics

The recently released annual workplace fatalities report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that workplace fatality rates have increased by 4.25% since last year. However, the number of fatalities has remained broadly level in recent years.

The UK has one of the lowest fatality rates at work in Europe, but of course any fatality at work is regrettable. That’s why we’ve looked into the most common incidents that cause fatalities at work and what you can do to minimise the risk at work.

The report found that there were 147 workplace fatalities in 2018/19 - an increase of 6 fatalities from 2017/18.

The majority of incidents occurred in the construction (21.58%) and agricultural (23.02%) sectors, while the least amount of fatalities occurred in administrator and support services.

The top five most common causes of fatal injuries at work in 2018/19 include:

  • Falls from a height (27.21%)

  • Struck by a moving vehicle (20.41%)

  • Struck by a moving object (10.88%)

  • Trapped by something collapsing/ overturning (7.48%)

  • Contact with moving machinery (9.52%).

With good health and safety practices, these types of incidents are avoidable. But would you know what to do if a serious incident happened at work?

What to do when an accident happens at work

If you had to deal with a serious incident at work and someone was unresponsive and not breathing, here is what you can do to help while you’re waiting for help to arrive.

Unresponsive and not breathing

Someone who is unresponsive and not breathing is in cardiac arrest: their heart is not pumping blood around their body. They will not be moving and won’t respond to you.

To check for normal breathing, tilt their head back and look at their chest or stomach to see if it is moving, listen and feel for breaths on your cheek. If they are not breathing, their chest or stomach will not be moving normally and you won’t hear or feel signs of normal breaths. They may also look pale and blue.

If this happens, you should:

  1. Call 999 immediately - or ask someone else to do it

  2. Give 30 chest compressions - push firmly in the middle of their chest and then release

  3. Give two rescue breaths - seal your mouth over their mouth or nose, closing the other, tilt the head back and blow air into them with two steady breaths

  4. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until help arrives.

Bleeding heavily

If blood is flowing from a large or deep wound, you need to act as quickly as possible. You should:

  1. Put pressure on the wound - with whatever is available to stop the flow of blood

  2. Call 999 as soon as possible - or get someone else to do it

  3. Keep pressure on the wound - if available, you can apply a bandage.

If there is an object embedded in the wound do not remove it. The object is helping to plug the hole and stop the blood flow. Instead, apply pressure around the object.

In serious cases, a person bleeding heavily can go into shock. Shock is a life-threatening condition which occurs when vital organs don’t get enough oxygen due to reduced blood circulation.

A person in shock will look pale and feel cold and dizzy. If you suspect a person is in shock, caused by blood loss, you should:

  1. Put pressure on the wound with whatever is available

  2. Call 999 immediately if you haven't already done so

  3. Help them to lie down and lift their feet higher than their heart

  4. Reassure them and wrap them in a blanket to keep them warm.

First aid skills can also help to save lives and prevent minor accidents and illnesses becoming more serious. Our interactive first aid training provides the practical skills and confidence to help save lives when an accident strikes.

Our fully qualified and externally accredited trainers can provide flexible training solutions to fit your business needs. So book first aid training for your staff and ensure your workplace is prepared for the worst.

We offer free advice about the level of training you need or if you have any question please feel to call on 0330 223 5596 or email

Check out our latest AED offers at

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