In the UK, some of the most lucrative industries can also be the most dangerous. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the five most dangerous jobs in the UK. We’re taking a look at what makes them so hazardous and how to keep workers safe.
All data on fatal injuries in 2021/22 is from the Health and Safety Executive’s report, Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2022.
First on our list is an industry that has been notorious for hazardous working environments since the industrial revolution. Despite the recent advances in safety precautions and workers’ rights, manufacturing jobs are still among the most dangerous jobs in the UK today. In 2021/22, there were a total of 22 fatal injuries in the manufacturing industry. There were also more than 12,000 non-fatal workplace injuries in this sector.
There are several reasons why injuries and deaths within manufacturing jobs are so common. It could be the simple fact that factories are generally very noisy environments, making it hard to alert members of staff of an incoming danger or for those who have been injured to alert their colleagues. Perhaps the biggest risks within manufacturing jobs come from contact with heavy machinery.
In order to protect manufacturing workers, employers must ensure that all staff have the proper training and PPE before using any machinery/equipment. Heavy machinery must also be inspected regularly to detect potential faults before they become hazardous. To make it easier for staff to call for help in an emergency, employers could also consider a lone alarm.
4. HGV Driver
Lorry driving is a long-haul job that can leave drivers on their own for hours and even days on end. The isolation of the job results in limited monitoring of dangerous situations. Fatigue can occur easily while working alone, especially when working long, unsociable hours, leading to fatal collisions. 16 transport and storage workers were killed on the job in 2021/22. In fact, around 29% of road fatalities involve a driver who is at work.
Data shows that most of these fatalities are caused by a driver losing control of their vehicle. However, falls from height are also a major cause of injuries and deaths during the loading process.
Monitoring tiredness is crucial to reducing the number of fatalities among HGV drivers. Employers must encourage their drivers to take adequate rest breaks. GPS-enabled lone worker alarms are a simple, affordable solution that can help make HGV driving safer.
3. Waste and Recycling
Despite only accounting for one work-related death in the UK in 2021/22, workers in the waste and recycling sector are 13.5 times more likely to die at work than the average British worker. This makes waste management one of the most dangerous jobs in the UK, and is why we have listed it here despite admin and support services experiencing 12 fatalities in 2021/22.
Note: Admin and support services include cleaners, who are at increased risk of injuries in the workplace. See our article on hazards faced by cleaners.
Like the other dangerous jobs listed here, waste and recycling deaths are mainly due to collisions with vehicles and contact with heavy machinery. However, workers also come into contact with respiratory hazards, needles, and broken glass.
To protect workers in this industry, employers must provide adequate personal protective equipment and hazard handling training.
Farming comes second in our list of the most dangerous jobs in the UK. In 2021/22, there were 22 fatal injuries among agriculture, forestry and fishing workers. Farm workers are 20.5 times more likely to die at work than the average person.
Again, using heavy machinery and large vehicles are the biggest dangers of this job. Falling from height, injury by an animal, and being struck or trapped by falling objects are also common causes of work-related deaths in this sector.
Many farmers are self-employed and work alone, meaning they are responsible for their own safety and can often find themselves unable to call for help when injured. Additionally, agriculture workers often work in extreme heat or cold weather, adding to the risks of the job.
As 20% of workplace deaths involve accidents with heavy machinery, it is not surprising that construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in the UK. The number of construction work-related deaths reached 30 in 2021/22 – the highest number of any industry in the UK.
The most common hazards in a construction job include falling from height, working with heavy machinery, and being struck by moving/falling objects.
Construction workers are often employed on a temporary or casual basis, meaning there is often no one taking responsibility for the safety of these workers or making sure they have adequate training and protective equipment. Another theory is that these workers often feel the need to prove their worth in temporary jobs, resulting in them working quicker and taking less care with their own safety. However, it cannot be overlooked that construction jobs, by their very nature, involve potentially hazardous worksites and equipment.
Making the Most Dangerous Jobs Safer
The most dangerous jobs in the UK have a few things in common. Many workplace deaths involve heavy machinery, working alone, and/or working in a noisy environment. These factors can increase the risks of already-hazardous workplaces. Fortunately, there is a simple, affordable solution for lone workers across all industries.
A Lone Alarm allows a worker to call for help with just the touch of a button. Activating the alarm will raise a call in our 24-hour Monitoring Centre, where a member of our expert team will send the appropriate assistance without delay.
Lone Alarms for Lone Workers
Workers in all of the five most dangerous jobs could benefit enormously from having a Lone Alarm. In the event of a serious injury in the workplace, time is of the essence. Receiving timely medical attention can save lives, preventing workplace fatalities.
When a worker activates their Lone Alarm, a member of our Monitoring Team will answer the call and assess the situation before taking the appropriate course of action. This could involve alerting colleagues or managers, contacting the office, and/or calling the emergency services to attend. All of our Lone Alarms contain an advanced GPS locator, allowing our Monitoring Team to send assistance to a worker’s precise location. This is especially useful for transportation workers and those who travel for work. They also contain a built-in fall detector, which can be activated on each individual device as needed.
Lone Alarm systems provide peace of mind for employers, workers, and their loved ones. Workers can carry out their duties without fear, safe in the knowledge that help is always at hand. The alarms are water- and dust-resistant, with wireless charging and a variety of comfortable wearing options. To find out more about our Lone Alarms, view our Features page or get in touch with our friendly team on 0800 03 08 222.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 23rd August 2023 to reflect current information.