An earlier post set out the HSE figures for accidents at work.

The TUC “Risk” publication sets out evidence that these figures are a major under-estimate:

“HSE ‘glibly under-states’ work death toll

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) “glibly under-states and under-estimates the scale of the killing” at work, a top academic has charged. Steve Tombs, professor of criminology at the Open University, said HSE statistics released under ‘an all time low’ headline on 31 October (Risks 629) are “underestimation and, frankly, misrepresentation”, adding the headline figures exclude work-related deaths to members of the public and all occupational disease deaths. “The end result of this trawl through official, albeit buried, data takes us from 148 deaths to almost 14,000 deaths in 2012/1013,” he said. “But the under-estimate does not stop there. As the HSE now openly acknowledges, there are significant categories of deaths – at sea, or associated with the airline industry, for example – which are occupational but recorded by other agencies. But by far the biggest omission are the deaths of those who die whilst driving as a normal part of their work. This omits some 800–1,000 deaths per annum – from those who deliver ‘meals on wheels’ to district nurses, postal workers and lorry drivers – because such deaths are recorded as road traffic rather than occupational fatalities. Still, these additions do not capture the full scale of the problem of work-related deaths. For while the HSE’s data on fatal occupational illness is an estimation, as it acknowledges, it is in fact a gross under-estimation.” The professor concluded: “Workplace deaths are not, of course, reducible to numbers. Every death creates ever-widening ripples of emotional, psychological and financial harms through families, friends and communities. But the injustices experienced by those so bereaved are surely compounded when an agency of the state glibly under-states and under-estimates the scale of the killing. And, if the HSE cannot present this problem accurately, what hope that it might actually do its job and seek to prevent and respond to such deaths adequately?”

See the commentary at

This is based on figures from the Crime & Justice Blog which can be found at


The post setting out the HSE figures is at



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