Health and Safety Executive is marking its 40th anniversary with an appeal for businesses to make the wellbeing of workers their top priority for the new financial year.
Statistics show that 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 decline is welcome, but 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 Regional Director for the South and East of England said:
“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.”