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Slip, trips, and falls: Most common workplace injuries revealed

In any industry, and not least in construction, the health and safety of employees should be – and thankfully, often is – the ultimate priority. However, naturally things slip (trip or fall) and people get hurt. 

With this in mind, we wanted to make sure that those in the construction industry are fully aware of the most common workplace injuries and just how dangerous they can be, to heed warnings more seriously.

We analysed publicly available injury data by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) from the past year, to find out the most common types of injuries that workers should be aware of. 

The top ten most dangerous regions to work in the UK to work during 2020/2021 were*:

  1. Torbay: 6.1 reported injuries**
  2. East Riding of Yorkshire: 3.4 reported injuries**
  3. North Lincolnshire: 3.3 reported injuries**
  4. Blaenau Gwent: 3.2 reported injuries**
  5. Northumberland: 3.1 reported injuries**
  6. Neath Port Talbot: 3.0 reported injuries**
  7. Clackmannanshire: 3.0 reported injuries**
  8. Scottish Borders: 3.0 reported injuries**
  9. North Ayrshire: 3.0 reported injuries**
  10. Wakefield: 3.0 reported injuries**

The five most common types of injury reported in the construction industry as of 2020/2021 are***:

  1. Slips, trips, or falls on same level: 945 reported injuries
  2. Falls from a height: 701 reported injuries
  3. Injured while handling, lifting, or carrying: 623 reported injuries
  4. Struck by moving/flying/falling object: 412 reported injuries
  5. Other kinds of accident: 332 reported injuries

A total of 3,503 injuries – both fatal and non-fatal – were reported between 2020 and 2021 making construction the fourth most dangerous industry for employees in the UK. The industry is preceded only by public administration and defence (17,203 reported injuries), manufacturing (8,733 reported injuries), and wholesale and retail trade (8,303 reported injuries)***. 

While reporting an injury at work is easy enough, seeking justice for a particularly nasty experience can be somewhat trickier than it seems. Research revealed that a total of 1,260 notices were issued by HSE inspectors in the construction industry, 46% of which were improvement notices and 54% prohibition notices. However, there were only 76 prosecution cases where a verdict was reached in 2020/21, resulting in 66 convictions and £5.3 million in total fines (£80,000 per conviction)****.

Torbay, the popular seaside resort town in Devon, takes the top spot as the most dangerous region for employees across all industries, with a total of 6.1 injuries per capita***reported between 2020/2021. The town is followed by the East Riding of Yorkshire (3.4 injuries*) and North Lincolnshire (3.3 injuries**)*.

Interestingly it seems that regions in the north of England are the most dangerous overall, with three of the five topmost dangerous regions for employees being located in northern England (the East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and Northumberland).

Please see the interactive map below if you’re intrigued to know just how dangerous your hometown is for its workers.

*RIDREG – RIDDOR reported fatal and non-fatal injuries in Great Britain by country, region and unitary or local authority (.xlsx)

**per capita (1,000)

***RIDAGEGEN – RIDDOR reported fatal and non-fatal injuries in Great Britain by age, gender and broad industry group (.xlsx)****

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