Some industries like construction and farming are known to be dangerous to work in, but which industries are the most dangerous not to workers, but to members of the public? We've run stats from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to find out.
Business-Related Fatalities to Members of the Public
For the year ending March 2020, 92 members of the public were killed in an accident related to industry or a business. The number of workplace fatalities to member of the public has shown a decline in recent year, a 28% drop from 127 fatalities in the year ending March 2015.
It's possible that the figures for 2020 are slightly low due to COVID-19. For starters, members of the public had less exposure to industry because people were home during lockdowns for much of the year.
Also, COVID-19 might have affected the reporting of figures. While the lockdown began 23 March 2020 so barely overlaps with the reporting period, the lockdown could have interfered with administrative data collection while businesses or organisations were focused elsewhere. For example, routine data collection returns from local authorities were largely suspended. As a result, the figures for 2019/20 could be revised up in the future.
Industries Most Dangerous to the Public
The most dangerous industries in terms of fatalities to members of the public are land transportation and human health activities. These categories were responsible for 75 out of the 92 reported public fatalities in 2019/20 —that's 82% of the total.
|Workplace fatal injuries to members of the public in Great Britain, 2019/20|
|Transportation and storage||42|
|Land transport and transport via pipelines||41|
|Human health and social work activities||33|
|Human health activities||14|
|Residential care activities||14|
|Social work activities without accommodation||5|
|Public administration and defence; compulsory social security||5|
|Waste collection, treatment and disposal activities; materials recovery||2|
|Services to buildings and landscape activities||1|
|Arts, entertainment and recreation||1|
|Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities||1|
|Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply||1|
To protect a business against lawsuits in event of injury to a member of the public due to business activities, including death, a company can buy public liability insurance. Protection needs to be purchased before an incident occurs. Public liability insurance covers differs from employers' liability insurance, which covers work-related employee injury or illness.
Below we explain the types of activities performed in each of these categories.
Transportation and Storage
This category includes passenger or freight transport by rail, pipeline, road, water or air—both scheduled and unscheduled. Associated activities are also included, such as terminal and parking facilities, cargo handling, storage, renting of transport equipment with driver or operator, postal and courier activities, etc.
Land transport and transport via pipelines
This subcategory includes the transport of passengers and freight via road and rail, plus freight transport via pipelines.
This subcategory includes the transport of passengers or freight by air or space.
Human Health and Social Work Activities
This category includes health and social work activities, from health care provided by trained medical professionals in hospitals to residential care that includes some health care activities to social work activities not provided by health care professionals.
Human health activities
This subcategory includes activities of hospitals with accommodation facilities and the provision of diagnostic and medical treatment to inpatients with a wide variety of medical conditions. It includes:
- general or specialist medical, surgical, psychiatric and substance-abuse hospitals, sanatoria, preventoria, medical nursing homes, asylums, mental hospitals, rehabilitation centres, leprosaria and other human health institutions
- medical consultation and treatment in the field of general and specialised medicine by general practitioners and
- medical specialists and surgeons
- dental practice activities of a general or specialised nature and orthodontic activities
- activities for human health performed by paramedical practitioners legally recognised to treat patients
Residential care activities
This subcategory includes residential care combined with either nursing, supervisory or other types of care as needed by the residents. The care provided is a mix of health and social services. Residential nursing care activities include:
- homes for the elderly with nursing care
- convalescent homes
- rest homes with nursing care
- nursing care facilities
- nursing homes
Residential care activities for learning disabilities, mental health and substance abuse include:
- facilities for alcoholism or drug addiction treatment
- psychiatric convalescent homes
- residential group homes for the emotionally disturbed
- learning disabilities facilities
- mental health halfway houses
Residential care activities for the elderly and disabled include:
- assisted-living facilities
- continuing care retirement communities
- homes for the elderly with minimal nursing care
- rest homes without nursing care
Social work activities without accommodation
This subcategory includes a variety of social assistance services, but excluding services including accommodation, except on a temporary basis.
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security
This category covers the administration of State economic and social policy with regards to social and economic life of the community as a whole, including general administration and supervision in the field. Foreign affairs, defence and public order and safety activities are included.
Compulsory social security activities include:
- sickness, work-accident and unemployment insurance
- retirement pensions
- programmes covering income lost to maternity, temporary disablement, widowhood, etc.
Construction of buildings
This division includes general construction of buildings, such as new work, repair, additions and alterations, pre-fabricated building erection and temporary construction; entire dwellings, office buildings, stores and other public and utility buildings, farm buildings, etc.
This section includes education of any and all levels, in a public or private institution, for any profession, in oral or written format, including provision by radio, television, Internet or via correspondence. In addition to the regular school system, adult education, literacy programmes, military schools and academies, prison schools etc. are included.
Waste collection, treatment and disposal activities; materials recovery
This division includes the collection, treatment, and disposal of waste materials, including local hauling and materials recovery facilities (e.g., sorting recyclables from waste).
Services to buildings and landscape activities
This section includes general support services, such as services within a client’s facilities, cleaning of buildings inside and out, cleaning of industrial machinery, cleaning of trains, buses, planes, etc., cleaning of the inside of road and sea tankers, disinfecting and exterminating activities for buildings, ships, trains, etc., bottle cleaning, street sweeping, snow and ice removal, landscape care and maintenance, etc.
Arts, entertainment and recreation
This section includes a range of activities related to cultural, entertainment and recreational interests of the general public, such as live performances, museums, gambling, sports and recreation activities,
Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities
This subsection includes two basic activities—the production of crops and animal products, including organic agriculture, genetically modified crops and genetically modified animals; crops grown in open fields and in greenhouses. Hunting, trapping and related activities are included.
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
This section includes the provision of electric power, natural gas, steam, air conditioning, hot water, etc. through a network of lines, mains and pipes; included are the distribution of electricity, gas, steam, hot water, etc. in industrial parks or residential buildings.