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HSE Call For Employers To Put Worker Safety Top Of Agenda In 2013.

17th December 2013
Newly released figures from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), which show a decrease in serious injury accidents reported in the workplace from 24,726 between 2010-11 to 22,433 between 2011-12 are always welcomed.

Despite the downward trend, a total of 111,164 reported non-fatal injuries was still reported to employees, or the equivalent rate of 445.4 per 100,000. And while in West Yorkshire, the number of serious workplace injuries also fell, from 1,097 to 912, the HSE consider the figures a cause for concern.

So much so, that HSE are calling for businesses to “put worker safety at the top of their agenda” in 2013 by refocusing on “real dangers” rather than being fixated on the more trivial matters that can undermine attitudes to Health & Safety in the workplace, which are so easily derided in the popular press. Even the HSE has taken to publishing Health & Safety myths that some employers evoke for no real verifiable reason.

As any quick trawl through injury claims can reveal, the most common type of workplace accident still involves slips or trips (2 in 5), and falls from a height (more than 1 in 5). Accident compensation cases heard in court can all too frequently refer to unguarded machinery and related working practices where no risk assessment has been put into place.

It also appears that many workers may be prepared to put up with endangering their lives by working with equipment where safety catches, protective covers and guard rails are either missing, partially missing or defective rather than speak up and risk losing their job.

Non-fatal and major injury are serious enough but the incidence of workplace fatality appears to be relatively unchanged despite a slight drop from 175 deaths in 2010/11 to 173 in 2011/12, an average of six in every one million workers. Although the waste and recycling industries represented over 50 per cent of the total amount of fatalities in the UK (2011-12), the highest renumber of deaths took place in the construction industry (49 deaths) followed by agricultural (33) sector and manufacturing (31).