are you working in one of the uks most dangerous industries feature image

Are You Working In One Of The UK’s Most Dangerous Industries?

Posted on 18th Apr, 2017 | By Lorretta Tatham

The UK’s Health And Safety Executive releases health and safety stats for fatal workplace injuries each year. The rate of fatal workplace injuries has remained fairly steady for the past few years, with 142 deaths in 2014/15 and 144 in 2015/16. This week on the blog at Browns Safety, we thought we’d take a look at which are the most dangerous industries in the UK.

The Construction Industry

construction workers

This is consistently one of the most dangerous industries in the UK, and regularly makes the top lists of most dangerous professions on the planet. Even with the most stringent safety procedures, construction professionals are still open to a huge number of potential threats, and work in an environment where even the most simple of mistakes can have severe and unforgiving consequences.


  • 2014/15 – 35 deaths
  • 2015/16 – 43 deaths (1.94 per 100,000 employees)
  • Five year average: 43 fatalities


  • Falling from a height (which is still a leading cause of death on construction sites)
  • Being struck by heavy objects
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Using power tools and dangerous equipment
  • Being struck by a moving vehicle (of which there are often many)
  • Struck by moving (including flying/falling) objects

The Agricultural Industry

agricultural industry

Another of the most dangerous professions worldwide, agricultural sector workers are also vulnerable to an array of dangers. Though it’s not unheard of for animals to kill their owners – whether intentionally or not – a far more common cause of injury and death is the heavy machinery that’s part and parcel of every farmer’s working day.


  • 2014/15 – 33 deaths (9.12 per 100,000 employees)
  • 2015/16 – 27 deaths (7.73 per 100,000 employees)
  • Five year average: 32 fatalities


  • Working with heavy and moving machinery
  • Working with livestock
  • Manning or dealing with large vehicles
  • Amongst the most likely causes of death include being struck by moving vehicle, drowning or asphyxiation

The Manufacturing Industry

manufacturing plant

The manufacturing industry is obviously a hugely broad sector, and depending on the scale of the factories or production lines involved, workers can be exposed to varying levels of physical risk. No matter their specific corner of the market, though, almost all manufacturing workers universally have to deal with heavy machinery and moving parts, which goes some way to explaining why it’s one of the most dangerous sectors in the UK.


  • 2014/15 – 16 deaths
  • 2015/16 – 27 deaths
  • Five year average: 22


  • Heavy machinery
  • Moving parts

Waste Disposal And Refuse Collectors

 waste management

Those working in the waste and disposal industry are another group of workers who are regularly exposed to health dangers. For these people, though, it’s not just threats from moving vehicles (amongst the most common causes of injuries and death), but also biological and chemical dangers from the waste they deal with on a daily basis. Between 2009 and 2015, 8000 workers were ill, amounting to a total sick rate of 4% over that period.


  • 2014/15 – 5 deaths
  • 2015/16 – 6 deaths
  • Five year average: 7


  • Struck by moving vehicle
  • Germs and bacteria from waste

Mining Industry

mining machinery

The UK’s modern mining industry is a tiny sector. The last deep coal mine in the UK closed at the end of 2015, though several open-cast mines remain active. The size of the industry means that there are relatively few fatalities compared to the other sectors on this list, but that doesn’t change the numerous physical dangers that miners face while carrying out their job. Physically (rather than statistically), it is still one of the most dangerous jobs in the UK.


  • 2012/13 – 2 deaths
  • 2015/16 – 2 deaths
  • Average: four deaths for the previous five years


  • Suffocation
  • Gas poisoning
  • Roof collapse
  • Explosions

Safety Is Our Top Priority

The good news is that overall, the UK remains one of the HSE’s safest countries in terms of workplace accidents. This list is a roundup of some of the most deadly jobs in Britain, but it is far from exhaustive. Estate agent, for example, is perhaps an unlikely candidate for one of the most dangerous jobs in the UK, but nevertheless 70 were injured in 2012/13 alone. It just goes to show that employee safety should be a top concern, no matter the industry.

At Browns Safety, this is a principle we take very deeply to heart. We run a number of health and safety courses specifically aimed at improving safety in the workplace. To book a place, you can contact us on 01282 615517.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @brownssafety

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