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Appeal to London employers as new figures underline importance of workplace safety

Date:
15 January 2015

Safety watchdog the Health and Safety Executive is marking its 40th anniversary with an appeal for London businesses to make the wellbeing of workers their top priority for the new financial year.

It comes as new figures show that 10 people lost their lives while at work across the capital in 2013/14 and 9,443 suffered injury. That compares to 12 deaths and 9,788 injuries the previous year.

Statistics were also released today (15 Jan) showing the scale of workplace illness. Across London some 136,000 people were estimated to have been made ill through their work over the same period.

Nationally, across Great Britain, there were 133 deaths at work in 2013/14, more than 79,500 injuries were formally reported (through RIDDOR) and over 1.1 million people are estimated to have been made ill.

That is a huge reduction from when HSE was formally established in January 1975 to enforce the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 – the statute that underpins all health and safety legislation, and that is credited with making the UK one of the safest places to work in the world.

In 1974/75 a total of 651 employees alone were killed, and that is without including self-employed workers whose deaths were not recorded in the same way.

The stark decline is welcome, but local employers are being urged to review whether they can do more to protect their workforce.

The latest figures show that those involved in construction, manufacturing and waste and recycling are most at risk, with agriculture another industry where sustained improvement is needed.

Areas of particular concern include falls from height; work on machinery that is poorly maintained and guarded; and failing to properly manage workplace transport.

Tim Galloway, HSE’s Regional Director for London and the South East said:

“The families of the workers across the capital who sadly lost their lives last year have just had to spend the festive period without their loved ones, while thousands of workers were made ill through their work or had their lives changed forever by a major injury.

“The figures offer encouragement that we are continuing to head in the right direction, but they also show that we can still go further and challenge the industries where there is room to do more.

“Workplace conditions have improved dramatically in the past four decades, but as employers plan and prepare for the new financial year they need to ensure that health, safety and welfare is a clear focus.”

HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt, added: “In the forty years since HSE was formed, we’ve worked with businesses, workers and government to make Britain a healthier and safer place to work.

“Thousands of serious injuries have been prevented and work-related deaths have reduced by 85 per cent. HSE has helped Britain become one of the safest places to work in the world.

“But we must also recognise that there is still a big challenge to prevent the suffering which does still occur. Seeing the annual statistics always leads to mixed emotions, sympathy for those who have suffered injury themselves and for the families and workmates of those who have lost their lives, determination to improve things further as well as encouragement that we are continuing to make progress in reducing the toll of suffering.

“For the last eight years we have consistently recorded one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers among the leading industrial nations in Europe.
However, in HSE’s 40th year it is right that we acknowledge the progress we’ve made and look to a future of striving to bring down these statistics even further.”

Information on tackling health and safety dangers in workplaces is available on HSE’s website at www.hse.gov.uk

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. The following table lists the numbers of deaths and injuries to workers across London during 2013/14. 
    Local Authority

    2013-14 Fatalities

    2013-14 Injuries

    2013-14

    Work-related illness

    Barking and Dagenham

    1

    159

    2600

    Barnet

    272

    5900

    Bexley

    208

    3800

    Brent

    283

    4000

    Bromley

    245

    5400

    Camden

    1

    470

    4200

    City of London

    327

    n/a

    Croydon

    299

    5800

    Ealing

    352

    5400

    Enfield

    330

    4500

    Greenwich

    275

    3700

    Hackney

    1

    167

    3700

    Hammersmith and Fulham

    213

    3100

    Haringey

    172

    3,900

    Harrow

    121

    4,000

    Havering

    2

    197

    3,900

    Hillingdon

    1

    866

    4,600

    Hounslow

    430

    4,400

    Islington

    253

    3,700

    Kensington and Chelsea

    287

    2,800

    Kingston upon Thames

    124

    3,100

    Lambeth

    315

    5,800

    Lewisham

    186

    4,800

    Merton

    1

    166

    3,900

    Newham

    1

    298

    3,400

    Redbridge

    127

    4,300

    Richmond upon Thames

    127

    3,600

    Southwark

    1

    333

    5,200

    Sutton

    151

    3,500

    Tower Hamlets

    283

    4,000

    Waltham Forest

    166

    3,800

    Wandsworth

    334

    6,000

    Westminster

    1

    902

    4,800

    London Total

    10

    9,443

    135,600

     

     

     

     

    GB TOTAL

    133

    79,575

    1,155,000

  3. The full statistics, including comparisons to previous years, are available online at http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/index.htm?ebul=postats14 See ‘Tables’ under the ‘Counties and regions’ tab.
  4. A list of the deaths reported to HSE during 2013/14 is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/fatalities/2013-14.htm (The information is updated on a monthly basis, and does not purport to be a formal statistical release. Subsequent investigation may determine that some are not reportable as workplace deaths, for example deaths due to natural causes.)
  5. The regional ill health figures are taken from the Labour Force Survey, a large national household survey in which respondents are asked to state whether they believe they are currently suffering from an ill health condition that was caused or made worse by work.
  6. In 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available across the EU, the standardised rate of work-related fatal injury, excluding traffic accidents, was 0.74 per cent per 100,000 workers in GB – the third lowest in the EU.
  7. The reporting of health and safety incidents at work is a statutory requirement, set out under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). A reportable incident includes: a death or major injury; any accident which does not result in major injury, but the injured person still has to take seven or more days off their normal work to recover; a work related disease; a member of the public being injured as a result of work related activity and taken to hospital for treatment; or a dangerous occurrence, which does not result in a serious injury, but could have done.

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