What are the 10 most dangerous jobs in Britain?

Employment & Skills | Reports

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After a tumultuous year, many Brits are job-hopping and changing industries, but some jobs are more dangerous than others.

A new study by GoCompare Life has analysed HSE data from the last five years to find out which jobs are the most dangerous in the UK, based on workplace fatalities. The data also looked at how much you can expect to be paid for taking on a more risky job and which areas of the UK are home to the riskiest roles.

Construction is the most dangerous job and one of the highest paid

According to GoCompare Life’s analysis, working in construction runs the highest risk of all the industries analysed with 17% of workplace fatalities. Great heights, heavy loads and live machinery all contribute to making it more dangerous than a desk job.

Farming, including livestock and crop, ranked second with 16.4% of total fatalities and Manufacturing placed third with 13%.

The top 10 most dangerous jobs in the UK & their average salary

Rank Industry % of total fatalities Average salary per year
1 Construction 17.1% £42,090
2 Farming 16.4% £31,390
3 Manufacturing 13.0% £34,380
4 Care & Nursing 11.1% £35,246
5 Waste Management 4.8% £34,282
6 Office & Admin 3.6% £31,408
7 Roofing 2.5% £35,474
8 Sales 2.4% £34,428
9 Real Estate 1.9% £53,837
10 Mechanic 1.8% £36,505

The highest paid role in the top 10 most risky jobs was working in real estate, with an average salary per year of £53k, however, it’s not all selling sunsets as this job accounted for just under 2% of all fatalities.

UK

Wales takes the top spot for riskiest place to work, with 14.41% of workplace fatalities.

The North West, home to the likes of Manchester, Liverpool and Blackpool all sit in England’s riskiest region, with 12.61% of all workplace fatalities here.

The safest place to work in the UK seems to be the North East. Only 2.7% of workplace tragedies happened here, making the likes of Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham a good choice for workers.

Ranked: The riskiest UK regions

Region/Country % of total workplace fatalities
Wales 14.41%
North West 12.61%
South West 11.71%
West Midlands 10.81%
East Midlands 9.91%
Scotland 9.01%
East of England 8.11%
South East 8.11%
London 6.31%
Yorkshire and The Humber 4.50%
North East 2.70%

*1.80% attributed to ‘regions unknown’

Men are more likely to die at work than women

The data revealed that in 2019 a staggering 97.3% of workplace fatalities recorded were males, while only 2.7% were women.

32% of fatal accidents are a result of falling from a height

While high scaffolding, cranes and large machinery are all essential for many of these risky industries to work, it comes as no surprise to see they’re also the biggest cause of death. Of all the fatalities analysed, 32.19% of them came as a result of falling from a height.

The second most common cause was being struck by a moving vehicle (22.2%), followed by deaths caused by moving objects (19.98%).

45-54 year olds are most at risk, accounting for 18% of fatalities

The baby boomer generation accounted for 18.02% of all workers who died in 2019. The next highest age group was between 35-44, where 17.12% of fatalities occurred.

Generally, the youngest workers seemed safer. There were no deaths for ages 16-19 and workers aged 20-24 age group accounted for just 7% of total workplace fatalities, suggesting that under 25’s are safely learning the tricks of new trades.

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1 Comment

  1. Sadly the list is flawed in several respects. It simply goes by what percentage of total deaths each sector has. But ignores a per-capita approach.

    It is also based on a list of deaths that are investigated by the HSE. Yet many, many deaths at work are not actually classed as deaths at work because the HSE does not actually investigate the cause. For example a fisherman lost at sea, or a lorry driver killed in an accident on the road. Also deaths at work, but not included in the statistics.

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