According to new figures recently published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), between April 2013 and March 2014, 133 people in Britain died in workplace accidents - 17 less than the previous year, 42 less than 2010/11, 46 less than 2008/09 and the lowest number since records began.
With the number of fatal injuries now at 133, the overall rate of fatal injuries in Britain has also dropped from 0.51 per 100,000 workers in 2012/13 to 0.44 in 2013/14 and below the five-year average rate of 0.56. At 0.51 per 100,000. It is thought Britain has the lowest rate of fatal injuries to workers, when compared to the following major industrial nations: Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
The HSE statistics show the rate of fatal injuries in certain industrial sectors. For instance, between April 2013 and March 2014, there were 27 fatal injuries to agricultural workers, 42 in construction and 4 in waste and recycling.
The figures are also broken down in parts of the United Kingdom, namely Scotland, England and Wales:
• In Scotland, the number of fatal injuries dropped from 23 and rate of 0.90 per 100,000 workers in 2012/13 to 20 and a rate of 0.78 per 100,000 in 2013/14;
• In England, the number fatal injuries dropped from 119 and rate of 0.47 per 100,000 workers in 2012/13 to 106 and a rate of 0.41 in 2013/14; and,
• In Wales, the number fatal injuries dropped from 8 and rate of 0.61 per 100,000 workers in 2012/13 to 7 and a rate of 0.52 in 2013/14.
Commenting on the HSE publications, Chair, Judith Hackitt said:
“The release of the annual statistics always leads to mixed emotions. Sadness for the loss of 133 lives, and sympathy for their families, friends and workmates, but also a sense of encouragement that we continue to make progress in reducing the toll of suffering.”
Ms Hackitt added: “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.”
Mike Penning, Minister of State for Health and Safety also provided comment by stating:
“Any death at work is a death too many. But these statistics show that workplaces are getting safer. The Health and Safety Executive do an excellent job in making sure each and every one of us can go out to do an honest day’s work in the knowledge that our safety is being taken seriously.”
As part of the HSE Annual Statistics, it was also revealed that mesothelioma related deaths, increased from 2,291 in 2011 to 2,535 in 2012.
Adding comment to these findings, Ms Hackitt said:
“The high numbers of deaths relating to mesothelioma are a reminder of historically poor standards of workplace health and safety, which decades later are causing thousands of painful, untimely deaths each year. While we now recognise and are better positioned to manage such health risks, these statistics are a stark reminder of the importance of keeping health standards in the workplace on a par with those we apply to safety.”
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