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What Are the Most Dangerous Occupations in Britain?

23 August 2017
 August 23, 2017

Last month The Health & Safety Executive released its annual breakdown of workplace fatalities in the UK, with figures showing a fall in the number of employees killed at work.

The report shows that in 2016-17, there were 137 workers in total that suffered a fatal injury. Among the most common causes of death include falling from height and being struck by heavy machinery or a moving vehicle.

The level of danger an employee is subjected to in their role will ultimately vary, depending on a number of factors including the measures put in place to safeguard them.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the jobs that carry the most risk, some of which may surprise you.

Painter and Decorator

Painting and decoratingNext time you get the Decorators in it might be worth remembering that Painters encounter one of the biggest safety issues on a daily basis – working from height. Last year nearly a fifth of all fatalities in the workplace were caused by falls, making it the second most common cause of death at work.


Electrician at workYou may be mistaken for thinking that electrocution is the biggest danger to Electricians. However due to the nature of the job, workers are more likely to be injured by a fall. In fact, figures from 2016-17 show there were only 8 fatalities that occurred as a result of workers coming into contact with electricity.


Mining and QuarryingAn obvious inclusion, Miners face a number of potential hazards – falls, working with heavy machinery and the danger of collapse and becoming trapped. Considering that these days the industry employs a relatively small number of the UK workforce, it still accounts for around 3% of the overall fatalities.

Civil Engineer

Civil EngineeringWorking on construction sites as a Civil Engineer involves all manner of risks from collapsed excavations, heights, electricity and being struck by vehicles or moving machinery. The elements can also pose a safety threat as in a recent case, a Civil Engineer died from hypothermia after being exposed to the cold for an extended period.


Car Mechanics & Garage WorkerInevitably, with Mechanics spending a lot of time under and around vehicles, there is an increased likelihood for accidents to occur, especially if safety regulations are not followed. Adding into the mix working with heavy machinery and motorway callouts, where repairs are often carried out on the roadside – it’s easy to see how risky this job can potentially be.

Refuse Collector

Waste and Recycling SectorNot just a dirty job, but also a dangerous one too. Last year deaths within the Waste and Recycling sector made up over 10% of the total number of work fatalities. Dangers include operating machinery, which can trap workers and dealing with heavy duty vehicles. Refuse Collectors are also regularly exposed to germs and harmful bacteria, which can cause sickness.

Lorry Driver

Heavy Goods DriversDriving for long stretches particularly on motorways can put lorry drivers at an increased risk. Heavy goods vehicles travelling at speed take a long time to slow down, especially in bad weather which makes fatal collisions more likely if a driver loses control. In 2016-17 there were 14 deaths within the Transportation sector. A driver’s load may also pose a danger itself, with transporting hazardous goods such as chemicals posing a safety issue.

Factory Worker

Workers in ManufacturingManufacturing has one of the highest levels of fatal injuries in the UK. Whether involved the production of food, metal, rubber, plastics or furniture – working with heavy, moving machinery increases the risk of workers suffering injury and even death by becoming trapped or even being crushed.


Agriculture and FarmingAgriculture often comes out on top as the UK’s most dangerous industry, with around 20% of workplace deaths in the past year due to farming related incidents. Farm workers are usually based in remote areas, sometimes working alone. Risks in a farm environment include using heavy machinery, moving vehicles and even animal attacks. Initiatives such National Farm Safety Week have been set up to help promote safer working practices within the agricultural sector and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities.


Construction IndustryWith 30 deaths in 2016/17, Construction is unsurprisingly considered the least safe sector to work in. Roofers and scaffolders, make up a significant number of the total fatalities, the main cause of death being falls from height. Builders encounter many risks on a daily basis from moving vehicles, falling objects, contact with heavy machinery, electricity and the danger of collapsing structures to name just a few.

Regardless of the industry you’re in, if you’re looking for a reliable service that offers protection to workers and allows them to get help quickly in an emergency – Skyguard provide a range of personal safety devices and apps.