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Falls top the causes of workplace deaths in 2023

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Forty workers lost their lives falling from height last year, 11 more than the year before that, and an increase of five on the past five-year average (35 deaths). Falls remain the most common cause of workplace death.


Most of the falls occurred in construction. Out of the total of 40 workers who died in a fall, 24 of them worked in construction.

These include 57-year-old Mark Smith and 18-year-old Rory Brownlee. Their names are published alongside HSE’s statistics and show how each of the cases was an individual – someone who went to work and did not come home.

Falls remain the most common cause of workplace death. Photograph: iStock

The two reports were published on 6 July and cover the period from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023. In total, 135 workers were killed in, an increase of 12 on 2021/22 when 123 workers lost their lives.

Commenting, Ruth Wilkinson, Head of Policy at IOSH, said: “This data is a sobering reminder of the consequences of health and safety failures and that our efforts to prevent occupational accidents, incidents, ill health and diseases must not stop. These are 135 lives lost in one year. These are 135 families, friends and colleagues having to cope with a devastating loss. We cannot accept this.

“We can see where the main hazards and risks lie – people working in construction, working at height, workers aged 60 or over. But, with good health and safety, these risks can be prevented and managed.”

HSE’s Chief Executive Sarah Albon said: “While these figures show Great Britain is one of the safest countries in the world to work, safety must continue to be at the top of everyone’s agenda.

“Our mission is to protect people and places and we remain committed to maintaining safe workplaces and holding employers to account for their actions.”

Work-related fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2023 report here

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