New statistics from the Health and Safety Executive show that work-related illnesses have jumped 18% in the 12 months to April 2014, when compared to the same period in 2011-12. The figures show that there were a huge increase in different kinds of work-related injuries and illnesses. In 2013-14 around 244,000 people reported the development of a musculoskeletal disorder, 30% more in 2011-2012.
Stress-related conditions, which make up the bulk of all work-related illnesses remained on a level par with two years previously and the overall total for new occupational illnesses and conditions was 535,000. This data has been provided by the government Labour Force Survey, who don’t have any details for 2012-13, hence looking back two years.
These new statistics, when compared with an absence report put together by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development would suggest that more people are continuing to work whilst sick or injured, a worrying statistics which brings into light the idea that people are putting their health more at risk, simply for the sake of avoiding time off.
Many examples of illness and injury in the workplace are due to issues with employers not following the correct procedures, providing the correct training, equipment and more. The most common causes of injuries in the workplace remain slips and trips, handling, lifting and carrying and being hit by moving objects, all things which can theoretically be avoided in almost all instances.
Health and Safety Prosecution and Enforcement Statistics
Looking at the prosecution statistics, the health and safety figures remained level with the previous year, 517 prosecutions being brought in 2013-14. They also served 10,119 enforcement notices across Britain which was an increase of 15% in the previous period and evidence that more companies need to reconsider their health and safety practices and their commitment to the wellbeing of their employees.
Government spending cuts have meant that the health and safety has had to reduce its inspection rate around the country and industry professionals, including TUC General Secretary, have expressed concern and worry that this may mean that rogue bosses and those with a less than satisfactory approach to safety have had more chance to get away with their shady practices. The new cases of injury and illness support this and can only be seen as a worrying step in the wrong direction.
Any rise in statistics which suggests more people are unsafe at work is a worry and if you have suffered an accident or injury which has been directly caused by your employment or employer, then you should push forward with a compensation claim. At Lamb & Co we work with clients who have suffered a wide range of work-related accidents and illnesses and understand the stresses involved in claiming against an employer but it is also important that they aren’t allowed to get away with it.