Essential industries that keep the United Kingdom moving forward often entail significant risks for their workers, sometimes even a matter of life and death.

While one might expect that these perilous occupations would come with commensurate salaries, recent research by StaySafeapp.com has shed light on a stark reality – many of these jobs fail to offer adequate compensation for the inherent hazards.

StaySafeapp.com, a leading safety-focused company, delved into the most recent data on workplace fatalities, average salaries across various industries, and workforce size to compile a comprehensive list of the UK’s most dangerous professions.

Falling from Heights, Struck by Moving Objects, and Struck by Vehicles: A Grim Picture

In the past year, the most common reasons for fatal workplace accidents were falls from heights (40 fatalities), being struck by moving objects (29 fatalities), and being struck by moving vehicles (20 fatalities). These statistics help explain why the agriculture and farming sector tops the list as the most dangerous job in the UK.

However, the research also revealed surprising dangers lurking in roles like commercial diving and mining, even in the year 2023.

UK’s Most Dangerous Jobs – Ranked by Fatality Rate

Job Fatality Rate Average Yearly Salary
Offshore Oil Platform Worker 52 per 100,000 £33,900
Mining Construction Worker 42.9 per 100,000 £40,000
Agriculture and Farming 7.87 per 100,000 £23,867
Commercial Diver 5 per 100,000 £31,893
Construction and Demolition 2.10 per 100,000 £37,161
Transport and Storage 0.98 per 100,000 £28,198
Manufacturing 0.57 per 100,000 £24,959
Admin and Support Services 0.41 per 100,000 £23,159
Wholesale, Retail, Motor Repair, Accommodation and Food 0.28 per 100,000 £22,813
Civil Engineer 0.21 per 100,000 £42,500
Veterinarian 0.14 per 100,000 £44,000

Lowest-Paid Dangerous Jobs – Ranked by Fatality Rate

Job Fatality Rate Average Yearly Salary
Agriculture and Farming 7.87 per 100,000 £23,867
Construction and Demolition 2.10 per 100,000 £37,161
Transport and Storage 0.98 per 100,000 £28,198
Manufacturing 0.57 per 100,000 £24,959
Admin and Support Services 0.41 per 100,000 £23,159

Agriculture and Farming: Risky Business with Meager Rewards

The agriculture and farming sector, notorious for its unpredictability, large vehicles, and exposure to hazardous chemicals, claims the title of the UK’s most dangerous job. Despite these formidable risks, workers in this sector earn an average annual salary of £23,867.17 – significantly below the national UK average of £30,982. The challenges faced by farm workers extend to operating heavy machinery in remote areas, with limited access to immediate assistance, long hours, and working in darkness during the winter months.

Construction and Demolition: A Dangerous Ascent

Occupying the second spot on the list, the construction and demolition industry offers workers an average annual salary of £37,161. While this is more than the farming sector, the risk of death or injury looms large. Construction workers frequently fall from heights due to improperly sited structures, such as scaffolding. They also face dangers from moving vehicles on bustling construction sites and machinery-related accidents.

Transport and Storage: Peril on the Roads

Workers in the transport industry spend extensive hours on the road, making them vulnerable to accidents involving other vehicles. The challenges are compounded by the solitary nature of the job and uncontrollable factors like weather conditions. Unloading and loading goods in warehouses further elevate the risk, leading to accidents such as manual handling injuries and falls from height.

Admin and Support Services: Hidden Hazards in the Office

Despite mainly office-based roles, workers in admin and support services face a higher fatality rate than many other industries. Hazards stem from slips, trips at work, injuries from handling goods, and even instances of violence from customers or colleagues.

Wholesale, Retail, Motor Repair, Accommodation and Food: High Risk, Low Pay

With an average annual compensation package of £22,813, the lowest among all dangerous jobs, workers in these sectors contend with significant risks. Fifteen fatal injuries occurred in these industries in the UK in 2023, often due to working in confined spaces, handling dangerous goods, and enduring long hours. Workers behind cash registers are also exposed to the risk of burglaries.

The Highest-Paid Most Dangerous Jobs

  1. Offshore Oil Platform Worker: Despite a staggering fatality rate of 52 per 100,000 workers, these employees earn an average yearly salary of £33,900.
  2. Mining Construction Worker: With a fatality rate of 42.9 per 100,000 workers, they earn an average of £40,000 annually.
  3. Commercial Diver: While the fatality rate is 5 per 100,000 workers, commercial divers receive an average yearly salary of £31,893.
  4. Civil Engineer: With a fatality rate of 0.21 per 100,000 workers, civil engineers earn £42,500 on average.
  5. Veterinarian: Veterinarians specializing in larger animals, despite a low fatality rate of 0.14 per 100,000 workers, earn an average salary of £44,000.

Regional Disparities in Workplace Fatalities

Certain regions in the UK bear a disproportionate burden of workplace fatalities, surpassing the national average of 0.45 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. The South West, Scotland, East Midlands, North East, and Yorkshire and The Humber all exhibit higher fatality rates, possibly attributable to industry types, weather conditions, and workforce demographics.

Don Cameron, CEO of StaySafeApp.com, expressed concern over these findings, stating, “One accident at work is one too many, so it’s shocking to see these high figures for injuries and fatalities in these essential job roles. What’s worse is that average salaries are nowhere near what most of us would feel is adequate compensation for the level of risk involved. The industries that this data highlights could, and should, be doing more to protect their workers by ensuring proper safety equipment is issued, and adequate training is provided. It is also important that these at-risk workers have a way to quickly alert their employer if they’re in danger. Lives quite literally will be saved with these actions.”

The research underscores the urgent need for comprehensive safety measures, appropriate compensation, and heightened awareness of workplace hazards in the UK’s most dangerous industries.

 

 

 

 

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.