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homeTuesday 17th September 2019

Too many people injured at work

Katie Coyne08/11/2018 - 12:43

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Workplace injury and ill health costs Britain £15 bn a year
Workplace injury and ill health costs Britain £15 bn a year

Workplace injury and ill health is costing Britain around £15 bn a year with over 30 million working days lost, according to the Health and Safety Executive’s latest figures.

Some 1.4 million workers suffered from work-related ill health and 555,000 were suffering from non-fatal injuries in 2017/18 according to figures compiled by the HSE from the Labour Force Survey.

A total of 493 cases were prosecuted, resulting in a conviction and fines from convictions were £72.6 m.

The HSE reported that there was no significant change in the industries in which workers were most likely to be injured – with nearly half of all fatal incidents happening in construction and agriculture.

HSE chair Martin Temple said of the findings: ‘These figures should serve as a reminder to us of the importance to manage risk and undertake good health and safety practice in the work place.

‘Great Britain’s health and safety record is something we should all be proud of, but there is still much to be done to ensure that every worker goes home at the end of their working day safe and healthy.

‘Collectively we must take responsibility to prevent these incidents that still affect too many lives every year, and continue to all play our part in Helping Great Britain Work Well.’

The report found there were 12,000 lung disease deaths linked to past exposures at work. Of these 32 per cent were COPD; 22 per cent non-asbestos related lung cancer; 20 per cent mesothelioma; 20 per cent asbestos-related lung cancer; and 5 per cent was listed as other.

Of the 1.4 million cases of new and long standing work-related ill health: 44 per cent were caused by stress, depression or anxiety; 35 per cent were musculoskeletal disorders; and 21 per cent were listed as other illnesses.

The HSE report also includes the number of fatal injuries to workers in 2017/18, and the number of fatalities has not changed from 144 since it published figures earlier this year.

However, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, has raised concerns over the high proportion of older workers suffering fatal injuries at work. Of the fatal injuries last year, 40 per cent were to workers aged 60 or above.

IOSH head of policy and public affairs Richard Jones said: ‘Our working lives are getting longer, and older workers are an important resource and can provide invaluable expertise and experience to organisations. 

‘Sadly, the statistics released by the HSE paint a worrying picture of how many workers across the country are still facing risks in the workplace and having their lives tragically cut short. 

‘Hazardous industries where deaths are more likely to occur, such as agriculture and construction, have ageing workforces, many of them self-employed, and many of them experiencing economic pressures. 

‘Good occupational safety and health management helps ensure that all workers, young and old, can fulfil their potential at work and come home safe.’

 

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