In the last year, there has been a 70 per cent increase in the number of fatal workplace accidents in Scotland, according to recent figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
From 17 work-related deaths in 2017/18 to 29 in 2018/19, the majority of the rise is due to an increase in the number of fatal accidents in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector, which went from three deaths last year to 13.
The new analysis reveals that agriculture is also the UK’s deadliest industry, with 32 people killed or fatally injured while working on British farms in 2018/19. This accounted for one-fifth of all 147 UK workplace fatalities which happened between April 2018 and March 2019.
An HSE spokesman said:
“In agriculture, forestry and fishing the causes of fatal injury are well known and precautions can be taken to avoid these deaths. These tragedies do not need to happen and are not an inevitable part of farming.”
Construction closely followed agriculture, with 30 fatal injuries occurring in the industry. The manufacturing sector accounted for 26 deaths, while wholesale, retail and motor repair had 18 deaths across the UK.
The majority of those who were fatally injured were between the ages of 16-59 (107 deaths), with 37 deaths occurring to those aged 60 and over.
The fatal injuries were also categorised by type of accident. The most common cause for fatal injury to UK workers was falling from a height (40 deaths). This was followed by being struck by a moving vehicle (30), hit by a moving object (16), and contact with moving machinery (14). There were 36 cases which were in the ‘Other kind of accident’ category, including being injured by an animal, drowning, and contact with electricity.
Currently, work-related fatal accidents and injuries cost the Scottish economy more than £1 billion a year in health and care costs, loss of income and productivity.
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