Accidents at Work – The numbers fall

The number of injuries from accidents in the workplace has fallen in recent years.

Major workplace injury numbers fall

The number of serious injuries in UK workplaces has fallen to an all-time low.

Workplaces across the country appear to be taking heed of the message that they need to take the issue of health and safety seriously, after the latest figures from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) show the number of serious workplace injuries fell to an all-time low in 2012-13.

Across the country from April 2012 to March this year, HSE data reveals a total of 19,707 major injuries, including amputations, fractures and burns, occurred on business premises over the 12 months – compared to 22,094 cases in the previous year.

Overall, this corresponded to a reduction in the rate of injuries per 100,000 employees from 88.5 to 78.5, while the number of fatal accidents recorded during the last year also dropped from 171 in 2012 to just 148 – this is a particularly positive statistic as it builds on a growing trend of a reduction in workplace deaths over recent years.

Over the past five years, the average number of fatal accidents recorded across the UK stands at 181 per year.

Meanwhile, the latest data for the overall cost of workplace injuries and absences – excluding work-related cancers – revealed a growing trend of workplace injuries costing less to society and the economy in general.

In 2006-07 this figure stood at £16.3 billion. However, in 2010-11 it had fallen to just £13.8 billion. Meanwhile, 27 million working days were lost to sickness and absence among the country’s workforce in 2010-11, while at the same time 1.1 million people were believed to be suffering from work-related illness.

Overall, the UK was ranked as third lowest in the EU for the incidence rate of workplace accidents that year – a feat the HSE hopes to repeat and build on in the coming years.

In response to these latest positive results, HSE chair Judith Hackitt commented: “This year’s figures demonstrate that Britain continues to be improve its health and safety performance, with important falls in the number of workers fatally injured and the number of employees suffering major injuries.

“But we still see too many deaths and injuries occur in the workplace many of which could have been prevented through simple safety measures. Getting this right is the key to ensuring that everyone can make it home safely at the end of their working day.”

Furthermore, she added that as the UK economy begins to get back on its feet after several years of stagnation and with significant numbers of new workers entering workplaces across the nation, it is imperative companies train their staff in the essentials of health and safety to help mitigate the risk of injuries to new recruits.

The construction and manufacturing sectors remain among some of the most dangerous for employees across the country at present, but it is positive to see the benefits of a raising standard of education and safety performance in terms of delivering a reduction in overall serious injury numbers and deaths that is now taking place across the country.

Workplace health and safety should be a major issue for all businesses regardless of what industry they operate in. It is therefore essential all businesses make the effort to adhere to all appropriate legislation for their sector and educate their staff on how to stay safe when coming into work or carrying out their duties.

Failure to do so can also have serious financial consequences, with companies liable for major compensation payouts to injured members of staff if it can be proven they failed to adhere to the necessary health and safety standards.

In addition, the spectre of workplace fatalities should always have businesses striving to ensure they are doing all they can to keep their employees safe from harm and it is gratifying to see efforts are being made to continue to improve these figures year-on-year. It is something the HSE is proud to help achieve.

“We’re committed to helping employers understand that health and safety is about sensibly and proportionately managing risks and ensuring people understand the risks involved not creating unnecessary paperwork,” Ms Hackitt concluded.


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Accidents at Work – The numbers fall
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