Shock over Herald’s infantile reporting on deaths in the workplace

Here’s what the same report from the Health and Safety Executive (page 9) has to say about these statistics:

It is worth noting that in 2018/19, there was a sharp increase in the number of worker deaths in Scotland. However, this increase can possibly be explained by natural variation in the figures and at this stage does not indicate any statistically significant change.

In terms of fatal injury rate, England consistently has a lower injury rate than either Scotland or Wales. However, injury rates are strongly influenced by variations in the mix of industries and occupations. The country injury rate does not make allowance for the varying composition of the workforce between the three home nations. A previous analysis of rates adjusted for industry composition by both country and region within England can be found at . This analysis shows that after standardising fatal injury rates by industry, Wales and Scotland have a fatal injury rate that is not statistically significantly different from the GB rate.

Put simply Scotland has a large, disproportionate, number of workers in the higher risk industries such as offshore oil, fishing and forestry.

Further, what about the percentages, eh? There’s nothing like a percentage to spoil a tabloid heading. There are 2,685,000 in employment in Scotland.

So that’s 0.00108% of Scottish workers.



One thought on “Shock over Herald’s infantile reporting on deaths in the workplace

  1. Legerwood July 6, 2019 / 9:30 am

    The variation in yearly rates is often one of the reasons why stats such as this and, for example, drug and alcohol deaths are reported as 3 or 5-year rolling averages. This will indicate the overall trend I.e. downward, static or upward but of course this is less sensational than screaming headlines about 70% increases in deaths.

    Liked by 1 person

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