1/3 of deaths in UK military caused by accident

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hackle, Feb 23, 2009.

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  1. While yesterday's Sunday Times was reporting 'MoD hides injury toll of Taliban bombs', the Independent took a different tack with:

    One-third of deaths in Britain's military caused by accidents

    Not that surprising. Sadly, many of us will recall individual deaths in service which we knew about at the time and which must be included in those 10-year statistics.

    But I was surprised to read that according to the story, despite the H&S culture the figures had actually got worse:

    It is not stated by what measure or what was the comparison period. I assume that the deaths attributable to H&S failures include accidental deaths in the course of operations. Risks which may not be justified in the course of normal training or peacetime activities may well be justified during or in preparation for operations.

    A "footnote" from the story:

    I think there was previous media coverage of an above-average incidence of non-freezing cold injury during initial training amongst soldiers recruited from the Commonwealth. Statistics from US forces suggested however that the determining factor was not racial, but whether or not the trainee had previously lived in a warm climate. Either way, while usually not to be compared with more catastrophic injuries, non-freezing cold injury can be career ending for an infantry soldier.
  2. I don't mean to seem like a cold calculating bastard (although I am), but how do these stats shape up to other industries?
    The Army is much much larger than the vast majority of civy entities, so these accidental deaths would be scaled up. That's considerably less than 1% accidental deaths over a 10 year period.
    In a comparably high-hazard industry, like construction or something, would 1 death out of a firm of 100 workers in 10 years be standard?
  3. Construction industry fatality rate much higher apparently:
    Web source

    Although I wonder if the construction industry stats relate to workers actually on site (not those in say the accounts department of the same companies) whereas the Army figures would be all-in?

    You might also compare UK military accident rates with those amongst other military with similar equipment and tasks. Robust British training and a general willingness to 'get out more' would arguably be further factors.
  4. Accidental deaths are inevitable whether on or off duty. Part of a soldier's remit is to work tired so inevitably accidents are going to happen. Couple that with soldiers driving on the wrong side of the road or crossing the road and looking the wrong way. Interestingly there has been an increase in injuries resulting from traffic collisions in the UK because of the number of drivers who are used to driving on the left. THey either react by swerving to the left to avoid collision or they step out into the dtreet and look the wrong way.
    Could the increase in NFCI perhaps be accounted for in the change in attitude towards the soldier. In the old days the platoon commander would insist on foot inspection and making sure clean socks and powder were used. Nowadays I am told there is a reluctance to treat soldiers as 'children' and they are expected to maintain their own feet.
  5. Yes, but why the increase (if we accept that there has been)?

    Really they should be driving on the left.

    Good point.
  6. Sorry Hackle old boy but your maths is a bit off there.

    800 in 10 years, averaging out to 80 per year with a (very generously) rounded up figure of 200,000 service personell gives a figure of 40 per 100,000, compared to the construction industries 3.4 per 100,000.

    According to that, you are 12 times more likely to die in an accident in the Armed Forces than in the construction industry.
  7. Thanks Aunty!

    Blame CrownImperial - he started it! ;)
  8. My apologies, please read 'used to driving on the right'.

    Perhaps accidents have increased in proportion to the off-duty wearing of Ipods and other personal music systems, I had a student step out in front of me the other day, totally oblivious to his surroundings, he nearly jumped a mile when I sounded my horn, I could easily have hit him.
  9. Hm... what about Ice Road Trucking/Crab Fishing/Lumberjacks?
  10. Its not a very nice environment training for/being at war. Its certainly not very safe.

    As someone already said we have all seen stupid accidents end careers/lives.

    The construction industry doesn't require its staff to work deprived of sleep using firearms in foreign countries doing all sorts of tasks they are not masters of.

    Par Example

    "Righto boys todays task is to move that ISO container from there, down the road to there then turn it into a sangar... Before first light tomorrow. Heres the tools, work out how to use them on the way and somebody over the rank of corporal make sure you read the instructions. P.S - Sleep is for Civvies!"
  11. I suspect this is more to do with the pre-empting of a controversial report about the tragedy of the Nimrod that blew up due to engineering incompetence and a complete failure of management oversight resulting in the deaths of 14 men.

    We shall see.
  12. I agree.

    It is stupid nonsense comparing accident rates in HM Forces with those in civilian industries and merely gives silly people the opportunity to suck their teeth and purse their lips.
  13. I think US or canadian stats would be most useful, as we have comparable armies (in terms of what we do, not scale).
    Comparing us to certain EU armies isn't a fair comparison in my humble reckoning.
  14. With regard to some of the points being made it would also be interesting to see a breakdown of Operations, Exercise and in Barracks if they figures go into that much detail.
  15. Since a significant civilian cause of death is DIY and household accidents is it not also likely that they might account for a reasonable number of AF deaths? Do we have figures that show death from accidents within the home? Let's not forget that soldiers are just as likely to be killed on leave, either at their home or on holiday, those figures will still show up as death in service even though they are not directly attributable to service.