Accidents at work can happen anywhere, but some workers are at a much higher risk of workplace injuries than others. Here are some of the UK’s most dangerous trades.
Farming and fishing
Agriculture accounts for just over one per cent of Britain’s workforce (employed and self-employed combined), but 33 fatal injuries during 2011/12 (according to health and safety statistics), make up 20 per cent of all fatal work accidents during this period. Exact figures for major injuries and injuries resulting in three days or more off work are not available, but are also believed to be higher than in other industries, especially as many accidents remain unreported.
According to an Oxford University study, the chance of fishermen having fatal work accidents is 50 times higher than for workers in other professions. Farming and fishing would not usually come to mind as one of the UK’s most dangerous trades, but it can be a highly risky trade.
Accounting for around five per cent of British employees, the construction industry still accounts for approximately 10% of all reported major injuries and 22 per cent of fatal injuries to employees (49 fatalities in 2011/12; HSE statistics).
Some of the industry’s riskiest professions include; scaffolders, roofers and steeplejacks; steel workers and plumbers. Most construction industry injuries result from slips, trips and falls, as well as electrical shocks.
Another major risk factor in this industry is exposure to hazardous materials, which can lead to cancers and other severe illnesses later in life. Each year, more than 5000 such cases are reported. We would expect the construction industry to be part of the UK’s most dangerous trades, as this is one which is highly reported on.
Manufacturing accounts for approximately 10 per cent of the UK’s total workforce, but 16 per cent of injuries by work accident and around 25 per cent of fatalities (31 fatalities in 2011/12) occur in this industry sector.
Exposure to hazardous/ toxic materials within the manufacturing sector accounts for nearly 2000 cases of occupational cancer a year. HSE statistics for the 2011/12 period report an estimated 33,000 new work-related ill health cases.
Mining and rigs
Rig workers and miners still have some of the riskiest professions. Potential hazards include roof flooding, cave-ins, fires and explosions. Mining dust and lack of ventilation can cause lung damage, even years later.
Extreme weather, heavy machinery and remote locations represent some of the largest risks for workers on off-shore oil rigs.
Waste and recycling
Waste and recycling is also regarded as one of the high-risk industries. Although only accounting for around 0.6 per cent of British employees, it accounts for 2.8 per cent of all work-related reported injuries.
Whichever industry you happen to work in, if you were injured at work within the last 36 months you may be able to claim for compensation. Accident Advice Helpline’s advisers can be called for a confidential chat to determine whether or not you qualify for a claim. The free-phone number is available 24/7. You should be aware of the UK’s most dangerous trades, but take measure to reduce risk, no matter what occupation you are in.
Date Published: October 21, 2013
Author: David Brown