Britain’s most dangerous industries

In 2018/19, a total of 147 people were killed at work. Although this was an increase of six from the previous year, it was a fall of 32 from 2008/09. It shows that workers are generally getting better protection on the job.

However, there are some industries that present more of a danger to those employed within them, with accidents at work resulting in a greater risk of fatality.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Those working in agriculture, forestry and fishing were most at risk in 2018/19, with 32 deaths recorded by the Health and Safety Executive(HSE) in this period. This is three more than the previous year, when the industry was the UK’s second most dangerous.

Working with large machinery and vehicles, as well as unpredictable animals that can weigh up to a tonne, has contributed towards this industry topping the list of the UK’s most dangerous jobs.


In 2018/19, there were 30 people killed in the construction sector. This was a drop from the previous year’s figure of 38 – enough to take it from the highest number of fatalities to second.

However, with construction workers having to work at heights and with heavy moving objects and a wide range of tools, there is always going to be a risk involved in this industry. This makes it all the more important for managers to focus on health and safety as a priority.


The manufacturing sector saw 26 fatalities. This was significantly higher than the five-year low of 15 recorded in 2017/18. According to the HSE, the number of fatal injuries in manufacturing has fluctuated over the past five years.

Contact with moving machinery was responsible for 14 deaths in that period. As this is such a major aspect of manufacturing, there is little surprise in the fact it is one of the most dangerous industries in terms of deaths.

Transport and storage

A total of 16 people killed in the transport and storage industry in 2018/19. This was an increase from 15 the year before.

As road traffic accidents are such a threat to the general public – with 26,610 people killed or seriously injured in these accidents in the year ending June 2018, according to the Department for Transport – it follows that workers in this industry would be at greater risk than many others.

Admin and support services

It may come as a surprise, but admin and support services saw 10 deaths. However, the HSE explained that this includes renting and leasing activities and services to buildings and landscape activities.

When landscapers and those working in building services have to operate some dangerous machinery and often use sharp tools, the risk level rises significantly.

Dealing with an accident at work

If your organisation has seen a member of staff sustain an injury after an accident in the workplace, you may not know what to do. But your first priority should always be the health and welfare of the employee in question.

You should ensure they get the appropriate level of medical treatment, offering any support as needed. Encourage them to take the time to get their injury seen to.

It’s also advisable to record all the details of the accident – and if it’s a serious accident, you’ll have to report it under RIDDOR. This includes fatalities, certain fractures, industrial disease and any injury preventing an employee from working for seven days or longer.

When they return to work after the injury, you should ensure they feel welcome and supported. One of the best ways of reflecting how seriously you take the matter is by ensuring you’ve put in place stringent enough measures to prevent what happened to them happening to anyone else.

Author: Editorial Team

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