HSE releases workplace fatality figures for 2020/21

A total of 142 workers were killed at work in Great Britain in 2020/21, which is a 26% increase (29 deaths) from the previous year, newly released HSE figures show.

However, the number of fatalities has remained level in recent years – the average annual number of workers killed at work over the five years from 2016/17 to 2020/21 is 136, putting this year’s numbers slightly above average.

The most common cause of fatal injuries continues to be falls from height (35), followed by being struck by a moving vehicle (25) and being struck by a moving object (17), which all account for more than half of the fatalities.

One notable finding was the disproportionate risks to older workers; with around 30% (41) of fatal injuries involving workers aged 60+, even though they only make up around 11% of the workforce.

In another finding, 38% of worker fatal injuries were to self-employed workers even though they only make up 16% of workers. In comparison, the proportion of fatal injuries to self-employed workers is higher in 2020/21 than in the 5-year period from 2016/17 to 2020/21, where 31% of fatal injuries were to self-employed workers.

A more positive finding saw a 43% decrease in workplace fatal injuries to members of the public as a result of a work-related incident, with 60 fatalities in 2020/21 compared to 106 in 2019/20.


HSE (2021) ‘Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2021’. Available at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf (accessed: 13/07/2021)

HSE (2021) ‘HSE releases annual workplace fatality figures for 2020/21’. Available at: https://press.hse.gov.uk/2021/07/07/hse-releases-annual-workplace-fatality-figures-for-2020-21/ (accessed: 13/07/2021)

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