Work at Height Injuries: A Sobering Reality in UK Workplaces?

The latest statistics on workplace fatalities in the UK paint a sombre picture.
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Written by Sean Austin
December 6, 2023

The latest statistics on workplace fatalities in the UK paint a sombre picture, revealing a concerning rise in work at height injuries. According to reports from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), forty workers lost their lives in falls from height last year, marking an alarming increase of 11 fatalities compared to the previous year. This statistic is not merely a number; it represents 40 individuals who went to work and tragically did not return home.

Construction Sector Bears the Brunt:

The construction industry shoulders the greatest burden of these work at height fatalities. Out of the total 40 workers who lost their lives in falls, a staggering 24 were employed in construction. This includes individuals like Mark Smith and Rory Brownlee, whose names are etched alongside HSE’s statistics, serving as poignant reminders of the human toll behind these numbers…

Increasing Toll on Workplace Fatalities:

The HSE reports cover the period from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, revealing a grim total of 135 workers losing their lives, an increase of 12 compared to the previous year. This upward trend is disheartening, emphasising the urgent need for proactive measures to address work at height hazards.

Expert Commentary:

Ruth Wilkinson, Head of Policy at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), offers a sobering reflection on the data. She underscores the devastating impact of health and safety failures, emphasising that the 135 lives lost represent not just statistics but individuals with families, friends, and colleagues coping with profound loss.

Addressing Key Hazards:

The data clearly identifies the main hazards and risks, with a focus on individuals working in construction, particularly those engaged in tasks at height, and workers aged 60 or over. Shoal emphasises that, with robust health and safety practices, these risks can be both prevented and managed effectively.

HSE’s Commitment:

Sarah Albon, Chief Executive of HSE, acknowledges that while Great Britain is considered one of the safest countries to work in globally, safety must remain a top priority. Albon reiterates HSE’s mission to protect people and places, emphasizing the commitment to maintaining safe workplaces and holding employers accountable for their actions.


The rise in work at height injuries in the UK workplace is a stark reminder that more needs to be done to ensure the safety of workers. The statistics underscore the urgency for robust health and safety measures, particularly in industries where the risk of falls is prevalent. As we reflect on these sobering numbers, it is crucial for employers, regulatory bodies, and workers alike to collaborate in creating a workplace culture that prioritises safety and prevents further loss of precious lives.

How can we help:

Shoal Safety in Numbers is committed to addressing the concerning rise in work at height injuries in the UK workplace. We understand the gravity of these statistics and the human toll they represent. Our organisation is poised to contribute significantly to the reduction of work at height incidents by providing real insight and comprehensive solutions.

Expert Insight:

Our team comprises industry experts with extensive experience in work at height safety. We offer real insights into the specific challenges faced by workers engaged in tasks at height across various sectors. By tapping into the knowledge of our experts, we can identify key risk factors and tailor solutions to address them effectively.

Tailored Training Programs:

Shoal Safety in Numbers specialises in delivering tailored training programs designed to enhance skills and safety awareness. Our training sessions focus on equipping workers with the knowledge and tools needed to work at height safely. We understand the unique requirements of different industries and customise our programs to meet those specific needs.

Campaigning for Change:

As part of our commitment to reducing work at height incidents, Shoal actively engages in safety awareness campaigns. We believe in the power of education and advocacy to instil a culture of safety within organizations. Our campaigns are designed to promote awareness, encourage best practices, and foster a collective responsibility for safety in the workplace.

Risk Management Solutions:

Shoal Safety in Numbers adopts a relentless approach to risk management. We work closely with our partners to identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks associated with work at height. Our goal is not only to meet regulatory requirements but to exceed them, ensuring a workplace where everyone has the opportunity to go home healthy and safe.

Holistic Approach:

Recognising the multifaceted nature of work at height safety, Shoal provides a comprehensive suite of solutions. From expert insights and tailored training to impactful campaigning and robust risk management, our holistic approach is geared towards making a tangible difference in reducing work at height injuries.

By choosing Shoal Safety in Numbers as your safety partner, you align with an organisation dedicated to creating safer working environments. Together, we can contribute to the collective effort of bringing down the alarming figures and ensuring that every worker has the chance to return home healthy and safe.

About the Author

Sean is the business development lead at Shoal and writes about his experiences and aims for the future of health and safety.