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Construction the deadliest industry to work in – for £36K a year

06 October, 2017

Header Image The Deadliest Jobs
  • First4Lawyers study analyses decade of workplace death data and reveals the construction industry to be the deadliest
  • 382 people have died while at work in construction in the last 10 years
  • 1267 people have died while at work in the UK since 2008
  • Average age for workplace deaths is 48
  • Forget Friday 13th - Tuesday 9th has killed the most amount of people at work across Britain since 2008
  • Scotland is the unluckiest region

A study using a decade’s worth of workplace death data reveals the construction industry to be the deadliest, killing 382 people. Experts at First4Lawyers have analysed open data from the Health and Safety Executive, which looks at how many deaths have occurred in the workplace in the last 10 years from 2008 until now.

Construction - Britain’s deadliest industry

Although a total of 1267 people have died whilst at work since 2008, 382 of those were in the construction industry which is more than any other industry. The average age for workplace deaths in construction is just 48 years old. Working in both service and agricultural industries is also pretty risky, accounting for 287 and 269 deaths respectively since 2008.

A list of deadliest jobs

When looking at the average salary for working in the deadliest industries, construction comes out with an average salary of £36,702. The data was taken from an analysis of over 1 million job ads by Adzuna, and reveals that they get paid 35% above the average UK salary of £27,271, suggesting that perhaps it’s worth taking a risk for the extra danger money.

However, if you were to work as a farm worker in the third deadliest industry of agriculture, the lower salary of £19,390 may not be worth the risk for some.

Average salary of each industry:

  • Agriculture: £31,857 - Farm Manager: £35,113, Farm Worker: £19,390, Agricultural Technician: £25,374
  • Construction: £36,702 - Building Site Manager: £42,041, Builder: £34,491, Scaffolder: £37,716, Brick Layer: £29,209
  • Extractive: £40,162 Utilities: £37,678 - Oil and Gas Engineer: £30,584, Electrician: £34,439, Powerplant Engineer: £35,500
  • Manufacturing: £31,832 - Manufacturing Engineer: £34,573, Machine Operator: £21,751, Warehouse Operative: £17,567
  • Service: £30,597 - Police Officer: £31,000 (Payscale), Fireman: £32,447 (Payscale), Soldier: £28,346 (Adzuna)
  • Water/Waste Management: £29,185 - Waste Operative: £26,176, Waste Management: £30,924, Recycling Operative: £19,863

*Figures according to Adzuna on 28/09/2017 at 3pm, except Police Officer and Fireman which are from Payscale

2011 saw the most deaths in construction (52 people), however since then we have seen a slight decrease due to health and safety regulation improvements. In 2016, 33 people died as a result of a workplace accident in the construction industry and 12 people have died so far in 2017.

Scotland is the unluckiest region for workplace deaths

When breaking the data down by region, 176 deaths occurred in Scotland, which is the highest across Britain. 35% of workplace deaths in Scotland occurred in the agricultural industry, with 61 losing their lives at work in the last 10 years - making it the deadliest sector to work in for Scots.

A map of England, Scotland and Wales showing deadliest regions where people work in construction

When you consider that the average salary for a farm worker (£19,390) is 41% below the average UK salary, some may not think it worth the extra risk. However, farm managers can earn on average £31,000 in the UK, while an agricultural technician can command £25,274.

When it came to the luckiest region, the North East came out on top, with just 39 people dying because of a workplace accident. The majority of these (11) were in the agricultural industry.

Tuesday 9th unluckier than Friday 13th

Friday the 13th is widely considered the unluckiest day of the year in Western superstition, and it’s coming up this month. Scientifically known as paraskavedekatriaphobia, 21 million people suffer from a fear of Friday 13th, costing businesses up to £585m, from shunned air travel to people not going into work.

However, data analysis reveals there is not that much to worry about.

In fact, Tuesday 9th has proven to be the deadliest day of all. A total of 20 people have died on Tuesday 9th while at work, which is more than triple the amount on Friday 13th. In fact, just six people have died in the workplace on Friday 13th making it far less unlucky than many believe.

how deadly is friday 13th poster showing calendar dates

Andrew Cullwick, spokesperson for First4Lawyers, said: “Although we have seen a slight decrease in workplace deaths across all industries, we expected to see a lot less. It’s quite shocking to see that still to this day workplace accidents are turning into deaths, and construction remains the most dangerous industry, despite so many health and safety regulations being introduced. With working practices constantly being improved, there is no excuse for companies not obeying the law and fulfilling their business obligations.”

Notes to Editors


  1. 21 million people suffer with the fear of Friday 13th http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/friday-13th-2015-it-really-unluckiest-day-year-1528453
  2. The fear of Friday 13th causes £585m worth of damage on business http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/05/13/is-friday-13th-bad-for-business/
  3. Health and Safety Executive data 2008-2018 http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/fatalities/in-year-names.htm
  4. Health and Safety improvements timeline http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/timeline/index.htm#a2000
  5. Average salary data by industry – Adzuna https://www.adzuna.co.uk/
  6. The average UK salary http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4412440/Average-salary-145-UK-jobs-revealed.html

Full stats

Number of workplace deaths each year 2008-2017

2008 126
2009 137
2010 138
2011 174
2012 135
2013 135
2014 120
2015 127
2016 121
2017 54
Grand Total 1267

Number of workplace deaths by industry

Agriculture 269
Construction 382
Extractive/Utilities 52
Manufacturing 214
Service 287
Water/Waste Management 63
Grand Total 1267

Average age of each workplace death in each industry

Agriculture 55
Construction 45
Extractive/Utilities 49
Manufacturing 46
Service 47
Water/Waste Management 43
Grand Total 48

Deadliest month (number represents month e.g. 1- January, 2 February etc)

1 102
2 108
3 89
4 108
5 97
6 128
7 120
8 112
9 107
10 112
11 103
12 81
Grand Total 1267

Workplace deaths by region

East Anglia 112
East Midlands 117
London 91
North East 39
North West 162
Scotland 176
South East 131
South West 115
Wales 76
West Midlands 106
Yorkshire & The Humber 134
Grand Total 1267

Media information

For more information or additional commentary, contact our Digital PR Strategist Carrie Rose Balloch at [email protected] or call 01132604010.

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