At the end of December 2014, as is customary, the Health and Safety Executive released their annual round up statistics for the year running from 2013 to 2014. There are many figures within the findings which we can feel positive about but others too which need a closer look and perhaps more needs to be done to help bring them down. Below is a closer look at some of the key finds in the latest report.
Workplace Illness Still High
The collected health and safety statistics suggest that in excess of 1.2 million people reported a work-related illness. The health and safety are clear in their explanation that these were not all new illnesses and in many cases they weren’t acquired in the working year in question. Further delving shows that it was under half, so still a figure around 500,000 which were new cases in 2013/4 and as we discussed in an earlier post about new cases of workplace illness, this is a figure that needs to come down.
Workplace Injury & Death Rates
It makes positive reading to see that the number of workplace deaths is still falling year on year. In 2013/4 there were 133 people killed on site at their place of work and whilst this number is lower, it still needs to keep falling. The construction and agriculture industries are still described as the most dangerous industries for employees to work in. Rising standards have seen the numbers fall though so this is a figure which the health and safety can be pleased is improving.
The health and safety used figures from the Labour Force Survey to report on workplace injuries and quoted that 629,000 employees were injured whilst at work. Further evidence needs to be collected to see exactly how serious and severe these injuries were and how the statistics break down into serious and minor injuries and this figure is much larger than it should be. Every instance in which an employee is injured at work through no fault of their own then there is a risk to the employer if they can be found to be negligent.
Workplace Cancers still a Worry
Every year in the UK approximately 13,000 people die from lung diseases and cancer which were caused by exposure to chemicals in their workplace. Asbestos and dust are the main dangers and one of the biggest killers of this type of disease is mesothelioma. Silica inhalation and diesel engine exhaust fumes have also been found to cause dangerous cancers and whilst many of the fatalities each year are due to historic asbestos exposure there is still more employers today can do.
Construction workers in particular need more asbestos protection and this is something which the health and safety are putting a lot of focus on as we move forward.
A Positive Outlook
With the number of deaths falling this suggests that the health safety legislation is having a positive effect and the work carried out by the health and safety is making a difference. The conditions in the modern workplace are significantly improved in most instances although there are still companies who don’t provide their employees with the protection they deserve and leave themselves open to justified personal injury claims.
You can access the full Health and Safety report HERE.