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Appeal to South East 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 South East 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 Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East and West Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire and Surrey in 2013/14, and 9,419 suffered injury. That compares to 25 deaths and 9,644 injuries across the same counties the previous year.

Statistics were also released today (14 Jan) showing the scale of workplace illness. Across the South East some 184,000 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.

Mike Wilcock, HSE’s head of operations for the South East, said:

“The families of the workers across the region who sadly lost their lives last year have just had to spend the festive period without their loved ones, while thousands of other 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 the South East during 2013/14.
    County / Local Authority

    2013-14 Fatals

    2012-13 Fatals

    2013-14 Injuries

    2012-13 Injuries

    2013-14

    Work-related illness

    BERKSHIRE

    Bracknell Forest

    120

    97

    2,100

    Reading

    190

    191

    2,800

    Slough

    189

    197

    2,100

    West Berkshire

    192

    220

    2,700

    Windsor and Maidenhead

    154

    147

    2,500

    Wokingham

    102

    97

    2,900

     

    –         

    947

    949

    15,100

    BUCKS

    Aylesbury Vale

    1

    207

    202

    3,600

    Chiltern

    1

    48

    56

    1,900

    Milton Keynes

    1

    341

    396

    5,400

    South Bucks

    1

    74

    85

    1,500

    Wycombe

    136

    141

    3,600

     

    2

    2

    806

    880

    16,000

    EAST SUSSEX

    Brighton and Hove

    276

    269

    7,200

    Eastbourne

    1

    110

    124

    2,400

    Hastings

    91

    105

    2,000

    Lewes

    78

    78

    2,500

    Rother

    68

    75

    1,900

    Wealden

    1

    132

    108

    3,600

     

    2

    755

    759

    19,600

    WEST SUSSEX

    Adur

    61

    51

    1,300

    Arun

    1

    123

    104

    3,500

    Chichester

    148

    127

    2,500

    Crawley

    2

    292

    304

    2,500

    Horsham

    124

    120

    3,000

    Mid Sussex

    1

    122

    124

    3,100

    Worthing

    106

    94

    2,200

     

    3

    1

    976

    924

    18,100

    HAMPSHIRE

    Basingstoke and Deane

    214

    220

    4,100

    East Hampshire

    2

    91

    90

    2,500

    Eastleigh

    131

    159

    2,800

    Fareham

    90

    113

    2,600

    Gosport

    56

    65

    1,700

    Hart

    77

    61

    2,200

    Havant

    78

    103

    2,400

    New Forest

    1

    160

    166

    3,800

    Portsmouth

    1

    276

    265

    4,800

    Rushmoor

    87

    97

    2,100

    Southampton

    343

    330

    5,600

    Test Valley

    1

    1

    172

    191

    2,600

    Winchester

    1

    168

    162

    2,600

     

    1

    6

    1,943

    2,022

    39,800

    ISLE OF WIGHT

     

    133

    143

    2,600

    KENT

    Ashford

    1

    137

    128

    2,500

    Canterbury

    1

    1

    164

    168

    3,000

    Dartford

    178

    190

    2,200

    Dover

    105

    111

    2,100

    Gravesham

    1

    74

    98

    2,000

    Maidstone

    160

    186

    3,500

    Medway

    278

    274

    5,400

    Sevenoaks

    2

    94

    92

    2,500

    Shepway

    1

    1

    79

    80

    2,100

    Swale

    1

    199

    202

    2,800

    Thanet

    1

    146

    156

    2,300

    Tonbridge and Malling

    1

    195

    166

    2,500

    Tunbridge Wells

    1

    105

    126

    2,400

     

    3

    9

    1,914

    1,977

    35,300

    OXFORDSHIRE

    Cherwell

    218

    237

    3,000

    Oxford

    272

    235

    3,400

    South Oxfordshire

    120

    104

    2,600

    Vale of White Horse

    1

    114

    149

    2,400

    West Oxfordshire

    1

    114

    109

    2,100

     

    1

    1

    838

    834

    13,500

    SURREY

    Elmbridge

    181

    135

    2,800

    Epsom and Ewell

    77

    74

    1,600

    Guildford

    3

    144

    166

    3,000

    Mole Valley

    74

    84

    1,800

    Reigate and Banstead

    121

    142

    3,200

    Runnymede

    79

    89

    2,100

    Spelthorne

    84

    79

    2,200

    Surrey Heath

    80

    92

    1,800

    Tandridge

    73

    100

    1,800

    Waverley

    1

    114

    122

    1,700

    Woking

    80

    73

    2,200

     

    4

    1,107

    1,156

    24,200

    COUNTY/REGION TOTAL

    10

    25

    9,419

    9,644

    184,200

    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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