The National Audit Office have published a report confirming that workplace accidents and ill health in Scotland resulted in 2.5 million working days last year. The cost was around £187,000,000.
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The Audit Office looked at the work of Health and Safety Executive in Scotland. Approximately 270 full time HSE inspectors are based in Scotland. 23 fatalities at the work place were reported in 2009 to 2010 with 2625 major injury accidents. 8039 incidents of work place injury were noted. The rate of fatalities and major injuries was higher than in England and Wales.
There had been a reduction in the more serious accidents since 2005 to 2006. The report concluded that the difference between Scotland and England was statistically significant and the reason was attributed to the greater proportion of the Scottish work force being employed in higher risk industries such as agriculture and construction. Research had been undertaken by the HSE to find out why Scotland has a higher rate of major injuries caused by accidents in the construction industry compared to England and Wales.
Ian Davidson, MP, Chairman, of the Common Scottish Affairs Committee commented “There is concern, there has been a wide spread view that the figures for Scottish work place accidents are worse than those for the rest of the UK”. The committee has asked the Audit Office to look at the HSE report and figures in more detail.
The government is cutting the HSE budget by 35%. Concern has been expressed in the press and health and safety circles that this would impact on supervision of health and safety in Scotland.
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