The UK's Top 10 Most Dangerous Industries to Work in

While looking for a job, it’s likely that would-be employees take the time to check what their perspective salary may be, along with their working hours and the length of their daily commute. However, for individuals working in some industries, it could be that mortality rates are also something to consider.

According to reports from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there are a number of professions that come with a higher risk of serious injury. Using stats from the HSE, we have put together a list of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the UK.

10) Vehicle Repair and Maintenance

Around 20% of workplace deaths that take place in the UK are linked to vehicles, and major injuries are also a regular occurrence in the ‘car handling sector’. The most common cause of injury within this sector is workers being hit by a moving object or vehicle.

Whether you are working by the roadside or in a workshop, it is vital that you stay aware of your surroundings. Before climbing around any machinery, check that it is secured, and ensure that any cars’ brakes are engaged.

If you are behind the wheel, signal to your co-workers that you are going to be moving, and make sure that everyone is out of the way before you do. Do not wear headphones or play music that may inhibit your hearing skills if you are on a workshop floor, or anywhere else where moving equipment may cause harm.

9) Joining and Painting

The majority of the 28 workplace deaths in joining and painting were caused by falling, which was linked to a further 240 workplace fatalities in other sectors, according to data from 2011-2016.

Ladders should be stable and secured to walls before climbing. If you need to, ask a co-worker to hold the ladder steady while you are on it, or to help move it into a safe position. Double checking anything that you may have to lean or stand on should become second nature.

Before climbing up to any heights, check your surroundings for hazards. Electrical wires, bad weather and even animals can cause painters and joiners a shock when climbing or balancing up high.

For those walking below workers, staying aware of where debris or other objects may fall could help you to avoid them, and wearing a hard hat, his-vis clothes and other protective gear may help further.

For fall from height injuries, and falling object injuries, visit our website, as you may be able to claim compensation.

8) Waste Management

In 2016-17, 14 people were killed while working in waste management. The average waste disposal technician earns roughly £17,600 per year, making it the lowest-paid role on our list.

One of the most common injuries suffered during waste management work is muscle injury due to repetitive motion and heavy lifting. This can cause long-term damage to muscles, leaving the worker in pain in later life, and unable to perform their job. To avoid this, ensure that you are not straining your muscles too heavily when lifting. Do not attempt to lift objects that are too heavy for you, instead, ask a coworker to help. If you have sustained an injury at work due to lifting or pulling, or you have injured your back, you could be entitled to claim compensation.

When working door-to-door, waste collectors should be careful when entering property. If a dog or other animal is being aggressive, try to communicate with the property owner to defuse the situation. If this is impossible, try to leave a note explaining why you could not collect their waste and remove yourself from the property. Do not attempt to calm the animal by yourself.

Equally, if you are having a problem with people being anti-social, try to leave the area or contact the police for help.

When working around waste, find out whether you should be wearing protective equipment. Your employer should provide it if it is necessary to keep you safe. If they do not provide it, you may be able to make a legal claim against them to secure compensation.

7) Civil engineering

Causing 14 deaths between 2011 and 2016, civil engineering is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Collapsed excavations, being hit by vehicles and coming into contact with electricity are just some of the causes of death reported.

When working in a dangerous environment, there are a number of things that should have been done. Risk assessments should have been carried out to identify the hazards and outline what each worker needs to do to protect themselves:

  • If there is a danger of moving vehicles, workers should wear high visibility and use blockers to section off the area of road so drivers are aware of their presence.
  • Excavations should be done with the utmost care, and hard hats should be worn at all times. If there is a risk of collapse, workers should not continue to excavate, and should instead focus on alleviating the risk.
  • Electrical hazards may be stopped by isolating the power or turning it off completely. However, if this is not possible, the hazard should be marked clearly, covered by a non-conductive safety object, and workers should wear non-conductive protective gear.

If you are working on a building site at the time of injury, you may be able to make a building site accident claim.

6) Healthcare

The healthcare sector has the highest sickness rate in the UK, which stands at 4.6%. This alone makes the industry one of the UK’s most dangerous to work in. Work-related injury and stress are also major risk factors for healthcare professionals.

When working with sharp objects, healthcare professionals should wear protective clothing and should store them in a place where they will not be knocked over or disturbed.

Sickness from patients can be transferred to workers and subsequently other patients. Sanitisation should be done regularly, keeping hands and work surfaces clean. Masks and clean overalls can avoid the spread of substances on clothes.

Stress caused by overworking is something that can cause injury to you and others as, if you are tired, you may pay less attention to your surroundings. If you have been injured and feel as though it was due to stress and tiredness, you could be eligible to claim compensation against your employer.

5) Manufacturing

Manufacturing work for products such as food, rubber, plastic, furniture and machinery caused 111 deaths between 2011-16, and usually takes place in warehouses. With a workplace injury rate of 2.4%, operating dangerous machinery or being struck by falling objects causes a number of injuries and deaths within the industry.

Knowledge of the machinery you are working with is of utmost importance. Ensure that no one is near the moving parts, and that it is safe to operate. Wear clothing that fits tightly and will not be caught.

When moving heavy objects, get help from a coworker, or use the appropriate tools. Equally, wear protective clothing - such as hard hats and hi-vis jackets, so that you can be seen easily and will not be caught in machinery by accident.

Maintaining awareness of hazards is one step closer to safety, therefore, your employer should have carried out a risk assessment. If you feel your employer has neglected your safety, you could be eligible for compensation.

4) Lorry Driving

After falling from height, cars and lorries are among the biggest causes of workplace deaths. Weighing up to 44 tons, a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) has the potential to be responsible for a considerable amount of damage if the driver loses control. Lorry driving was responsible for 38 deaths between 2011 and 2016, a number of these deaths were actually caused by other moving vehicles on the road.

When behind the wheel, ensure that you are aware of the speed limits. For HGVs, drive even slower to avoid any surprise turnings or stops that the weight of your vehicle may not be able to account for.

Driving a large vehicle can also inhibit your ability to see. By signalling your movements, and assessing your surroundings properly before doing anything, you can avoid harming yourself and others. Visit our road traffic accident claims page for more information on how you could claim.

3) Scaffolding and Roofing

Scaffolding is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, and falling or injuries sustained by falling account for 29% of all workplace deaths.

Due to the nature of scaffolding and roofing, both must be secure before work takes place, and either can suffer from not being so. Roofing is especially dangerous, as it can be slippery and unstable under-foot. Having co-workers close by to support you is one way you can help to ensure your safety. Test every bit of roofing or scaffold under foot before applying your full weight, and move slowly.

If one section of scaffold is not properly secured, the whole thing can come apart. Ensure that you and your team double and triple check every secured screw from the beginning to end. If you find that the scaffold is weak, you should not attempt to climb it, as it could lead to serious harm for you and anyone on or below it.

2) Construction

Some 196 deaths were reported in construction between 2011 and 2016. Half of the deaths on building sites were the result of falling from height; however, falling objects are also a significant risk to builders.

Building sites are full of hazards, and a comprehensive risk assessment, carried out by a senior member of staff, should highlight these. Inform yourself and others of the risks and label them properly. Trip hazards should be signposted and structural weaknesses should be managed before operating on.

Protective clothing, such as hard hats and high-vis clothing, should be worn at all times by you and any other workers.

1) Farming

Working from height, heavy machinery and working with potentially dangerous animals make farms an incredibly dangerous place to work. These hazards resulted in the deaths of 152 individuals between 2011-16.

Do not attempt to operate dangerous machinery without the correct knowledge of how, or assistance of someone else who does. Your clothing should be warm and tight-fitting to avoid it being caught in moving parts.

Animals can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous. If you are working on a farm and are not familiar with the animals, do not attempt to approach them without someone who is. If a situation arises wherein you feel threatened by an animal, try to leave the area carefully, without causing further reason for aggression. Do not attempt to pacify an animal on your own.

Get in Touch

If you have been injured in an accident at work that wasn’t your fault, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation. Get in touch with us today by calling 0345 872 6666, or by filling in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.

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