Statistics show that the manufacturing industry sees an average of 88,000 workers suffering from work-related ill health each year. The rate of self-reported work-related ill health was generally consistent in the years leading up to the pandemic; a trend that didn’t change between 2020/21.

Nevertheless, the number of workers who sustain an injury in this sector remains high, with a reported yearly average of 57,000 non-fatal injuries. In other words, 2.1% of workers in the manufacturing industry sustained an accident at work, which is statistically higher than the average across all industries. The past year saw 20 fatalities in the sector – an increase of two from the yearly average – indicating that there is an urgent need to revisit the training and awareness of safety regulations.

While the trend for workplace ill-health in manufacturing has not risen in recent years, more still needs to be done to reduce this number to the levels of other industries, creating a safer workplace for those in this sector. Here, we will see the most common causes of injuries in manufacturing and their best preventative measures.

Manufacturing fatal injuries are 1.5 times higher than industry averages

Every year, the government body Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publishes data on the number of fatal and non-fatal injuries for the year, across the UK’s industries. The data works on the basis that employees and employers undertake the correct processes for signalling and reporting any accidents.

The latest data is in line with Graham Coffey’s experience with personal injury claims in the sector, further highlighting that more work needs to be done to reduce the number of workplace injuries. The statistics for 2020/21 report a fatal injury rate that is 1.5 times higher than in the aggregate for all industries. Under the latest report, HSE indicates the most common fatal injuries and its percentage of the total number of injuries:

Falls from a height: 16%

As the most common cause of fatalities, it is imperative that more education is undertaken by staff. To reduce the risk of falling from a height, first assess the situation: is the work properly planned, overseen, and performed by an appropriate person? The latter must include the right skills, and enough knowledge and experience to be able to do the task correctly.

Assessing the situation means evaluating the tools needed; ensuring the ladder is functional, properly secured, and not overloaded will reduce the risk of falling off it. Secondly, communicating to those in the vicinity that there is someone working from a height will lead to heightened awareness and more precautionary measures being taken. Visual communication, in the form of hi-vis clothing, signals your presence to those around you. Finally, ensure that the hand tools are correctly secured to your person, to reduce the risk of anything falling down.

Injured whilst handling, lifting, or carrying: 21%

Accounting for over one in five injuries: handling, lifting, or carrying an object is a common injury that can be easily prevented.

Before picking the object up, you should have a clear understanding of the strength needed, as this will help you determine whether it is too large or heavy to carry by yourself, or without aid, for example, a pallet truck. You should know the route you will take, and be sure that there are no obstructions in your way – as your visibility is reduced when carrying an object, you may not be able to spot a hazard in your path. Ensuring adequate lighting will reduce this risk.

When lifting, adopt a stable position with your legs at shoulder-width, centring your body weight. Bend your knees, not your back, and grasp the object firmly with both hands. Use your legs to lift, keeping your back straight, and your hips aligned with your shoulders. Keep the object close to your body, and if needs be, put the object back down and start again.

Struck by a moving, including flying/falling, object: 15%

Falling objects are a common cause of accidents in the sector. As an object falls from a height, it gains speed, which can cause serious injury to anyone below. Nearly one in six manufacturing workers fall victim to a falling object, highlighting the need to initiate better safety practices and ensure this number is reduced.

To prevent injury from a falling object, the most important safety measure is the wearing of adequate safety equipment. A hard hat and steel toe-capped boots protect the common areas that can be struck. Wearing high-visibility clothing raises others’ awareness of you, reducing the risk of someone moving objects around without having seen you.

To prevent objects from falling, make sure to properly secure any objects at height, using appropriate netting and cables to attach them to a fixed point. It is equally important to not throw any object down from a height, and ensure that the space around you is clear.

Additional training is crucial

The latest statistics show that more needs to be done to reduce the number of injuries incurred by employees. The manufacturing industry is in need of additional preventative measures to safeguard its employees, the responsibility of whom lies on the organisations.

Through further awareness training of its staff, there will be a better understanding of the risks that can easily lead to a fatality. Training staff on a regular basis, ensuring a uniform knowledge of safety procedures, is likely to reduce the number of accidents at work.

Injured at work? You may be due financial compensation

If you’ve been involved in an accident at work, you may be owed financial compensation. Our team of solicitors has extensive experience in helping individuals make a successful financial claim following an accident.

To speak to one of our legal team on a no obligation basis about your accident, our ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement and whether you might have a claim please call us 0161 945 3671 on  or alternatively fill out our short online form