Figures released this week by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have revealed the number of fatalities reported in the British workplace over the past year.

According to the data, 144 people were killed in accidents at work in 2015/16, an increase from 142 in the previous year. The figures also show the rate of fatalities in key industries, with 43 in construction, 27 in agriculture and manufacturing, and six in waste and recycling.

There were also 103 members of the public fatally injured in accidents connected to work over the same period, of which 35 percent related to incidents on railways.

HSE has also released the latest figures on deaths caused by the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. Caused by the inhalation of asbestos, the disease has killed 2,515 in Great Britain in 2014 compared to 2,556 in 2013.

Martin Temple, HSE chair, has called on employers in all sectors to learn lessons and ensure workers return home safe from work.

Kam Singh, an accident at work solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The statistics thankfully confirm the UK to be one of the safest places to work in Europe, having one of the lowest rates of fatalities in leading industrial nations. However, even one death at work is one too many.

“Employers play a fundamental role in maintaining and improving health and safety standards in the workplace. Providing employees with adequate training and proper equipment is paramount if workers are not to be put at risk of injury and industrial diseases and getting the basics right avoids fatalities too.

“If we are to see the number of fatalities in the workplace decrease, then employers must build health and safety into part of being at work for their employees. Sensible employers have proved that a safety culture isn’t about ‘red tape’ but pays dividends and with less scaremongering we could save the HSE time and money and, crucially, save lives too.”