Horizon Platforms Blog

The Most Dangerous Industries Going Into 2024

Following health and safety protocol within the workplace is paramount to protecting your employees from any risk. Different industries require different measures to be put in place to ensure worker safety and some industries naturally have higher risk than others.

Do higher risk industries experience more injury in the workplace?

We wanted to find out so have analysed recent Health and Safety Executive data to work out which are the most dangerous industries in the UK for risk of injury moving into 2024. The data covers three-year averages of injuries recorded for workers employed in the past 12 months.

The data includes industry type, average rate of injury and number of reported injuries.

What is The Most Dangerous Industry For Injury Risk?

RankIndustryTotal number of reported non-fatal injuries to employeesNumber of over-7-day injuries to employeesRate of all reported non-fatal injury per 100,000 employeesRate of reported specified injury per 100,000 employees
All Industries60,64542,92021563
1Health and social work activities10,8348,38626959
3Transportation and storage8,0596,050684171
4Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles6,8734,99220957
8Accommodation and food service activities3,9922,84226075
9Public administration and defence; compulsory social security3,4052,48413637
10Information and communication; financial and insurance activities; real estate activities2,6161,6434115

Surprisingly, human health and social work was the industry which saw the most injuries, on average, per year. Perhaps surprising to some, the biggest cause of non-fatal injury for health and social care was by slips and falls, the second biggest cause of injury was acts of violence. There were around 10,834 incidents of worker injuries within health and social care in the recorded timeframe. Whilst health and social care recorded the most injuries, Warehousing employers recorded the highest rate of injury per 100,000 workers, proving this to be more of a risk of injury overall.

Not all injuries were suffered by those in manual roles. See the below table for a breakdown of average number of injuries based upon job seniority and occupation.

What is The Most Dangerous Occupation for Injury Risk?

#RolesAveraged estimated incidence (thousands)Averaged rate per 100,000 workersAveraged estimated days lost (thousands)Average days lost per worker
All occupations (current/most recent job)1121,5204,7680.18
1Skilled trades occupations1123,9909580.35
2Caring, leisure and other service occupations652,5306770.34
3Elementary occupations632,2305380.27
4Professional occupations607105690.079
5Associate professional occupations531,1606260.16
6Process, plant and machine operatives472,5109100.52
7Managers, directors and senior officials28800560.017
8Administrative and secretarial occupations258002080.086
9Sales and customer service occupations251,2602210.17

Skilled trades, by far, saw the highest number of injuries on average. Process, plant, and machine operatives had fewer injuries versus several other occupations but ranked highly for average days lost to injury, this occupation had the highest number of days lost per worker to injury.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Injury?

Injuries caused by lifting or carrying are the most commonly occurring in the workplace, causing an average of 117,000 injuries. Slips and falls also pose a huge risk to workers, leading to an average of 96,000 injuries on average per year. See the most common injuries suffered by workers below:

#Injury CauseAveraged estimated incidence (thousands)Averaged estimated days lost (thousands)Average days lost per worker
All accident kinds5225,3650.2
1Injured while handling, lifting or carrying1179950.037
2Slipped, tripped or fell on the same level961,1180.042
3Physically assaulted by a person403580.013
4Hit by moving, flying, falling object383420.013
5Contact with moving machinery325090.019
6Fell from a height265860.022
7Hit something fixed or stationary23780.0029
8Injured by an animal201130.0042

Whilst lifting injuries were the most common, injuries caused by slips and falls led to the highest number of days lost for workers. Falls from heights also led to more days being lost for work on average versus other injuries. Falls from heights saw an estimated 586,000 days of work lost and 26,000 injuries caused on average within the data timeframe.

How Many Injuries Lead to Fatalities?

Sadly 135 workers were killed in fatal accidents in 2022 – 2023 at their workplace. Fatal injury was most common within the construction industry.

Fatal Injuries at Work by Industry

#IndustryNumber of fatal injuries 2022-2023
2Agriculture, forestry and fishing21
4Wholesale, retail and motor repair, accommodation and food15
5Transport and storage15

Data for fatal injury at work dates back to 1981, so we can analyse whether fatalities are on the rise or fall. HSE statistics show that over the past four decades fatal injuries within workplaces have significantly decreased, levelling off in the 2020s. Recent records did show a slight rise recently in fatal injuries, as 2021-2022 records compared against 2022-2023 saw a 10% rise in the number of fatal injuries recorded.

When looking at the biggest cause of fatal injury within the workplace, falls from height was the biggest cause but not the biggest cause of non-fatal injury. Unfortunately, accidents still happen, and the statistics across this article re-enforces the importance of appropriate training, being vigilant and always following the latest health and safety guidance, especially when working at height as hazards are ever present.

The data also looked at the number of fatal injuries by UK region. Scotland recorded the highest number of fatalities, followed by Wales.

Fatal Injuries at Work By Cause

#CauseNumber of fatal injuries 2022-2023
1Falls from height40
2Struck by moving object29
3Struck by moving vehicle20
4Trapped by something collapsing/overturning12
5Contact with moving machinery9

The data also looked at the number of fatal injuries by UK region. Scotland recorded the highest number of fatalities, followed by Wales.

Fatal Injuries at Work by Region

RegionNumber of fatal injuries 2022-2023
East Midlands15
North West13
East England12
South East12
South West12
West Midlands11
Yorkshire & The Humber7
North East4

What Can Workers and Employers Do To Decrease Risk of Injury?

Ultimately, we want people to stay safe at work, avoiding injury and the knock effect injury has on the individual, their family, and their employer. There are many measures employers can put in place, firstly it is important to be up to date with recommended guidance within your specific industry. Do you offer workers the correct tools and PPE to maximise worker safety? Are your training protocols robust and reviewed regularly? Likewise, employees need to follow company training procedures and health and safety rules.

When working at height there are important guidelines you should be following. It’s therefore important to make sure your team is appropriately trained and isn’t ignoring guidelines or letting complacency creep in, as your team might be breaking the rules. When hiring machinery, you should ensure it is regularly checked, before each use where MEWPs (Mobile Elevating Work Platforms) are concerned, as well as having a thorough LOLER inspection every six months. You should be satisfied with the credentials of your provider, and that they have maintained the machine to a high standard and carried out necessary checks and inspections before you receive it. Be sure to look for a trusted partner when seeking specialist equipment or machinery to support reassurance of employee safety. Your employees should also be provided with the correct health and safety and operator training before using any new technology or machinery. In addition, review your training and health and safety protocols on a regular basis and make sure you are adhering to the latest guidance.

With a triple crown of ISO accreditations, Safe Contractor and the hard to achieve IPAF Rental+, Horizon Platforms is proud of our attention to detail when it comes to safety and service. In fact, every time a we hire out a machine, it goes through a comprehensive pre-delivery inspection before the customer receives it. So, if you’re looking for an access platform provider with a partner mentality who guarantees machine quality and safety, while being available 24/7 to support you in hitting your objectives, contact Horizon Platforms today.

Need powered access training for you or your team? We can also help! At Horizon Platforms we offer a wide range of MEWP training courses, head to our page for further information.