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Fatal workplace injuries on the decline

The number of workers killed in Britain in the past year has fallen, official statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found.

The data from the HSE showed that 148 workers were fatally injured between April 2012 and March 2013, compared with 172 in the previous year.

The rate of fatal injury has dropped to 0.5 per 100,000 workers, below the five-year average of 0.6.

The figures show Britain has had one of the lowest rates of fatal workplace injuries among leading industrial nations in Europe for the past eight years.

HSE chair Judith Hackitt welcomed the drop but said it was a reminder of the importance of health and safety.

"Although the number of people killed at work has dropped significantly, last year 148 people failed to return home to their loved ones," Hackitt said.

"The fact that Britain continues to have one of the lowest levels of workplace fatalities in Europe will be of little consolation to those who lose family members, friends and work colleagues.

The industry sector with the most workplace deaths was construction, with 39 fatal injuries in 2012/13, which was a decrease from the 49 deaths recorded in 2011/12.

There were 29 fatal injuries to agricultural workers between April 2012 and March 2013, a decrease of 35 deaths from the same period in 2011/12.

"HSE is striving to make health and safety simpler and clearer for people to understand so that more people do what is required to manage the real risks that cause death and serious injury," said Hackitt.

"We all have a part to play to ensure people come home safe at the end of the working day and good leadership, employee engagement and effective risk-management are key to achieving this."