30/06/2010

Deaths In Work-Related Accidents Dropping

There's been a more welcome 'fall' on building sites and other work places as new figures released today revealed that the number of people killed at work in Britain fell last year to a record low.

Rather than people 'falling to their death' in tragic incidents - the number of casualties has instead 'fallen' as fewer workers have died from workplace incidents last year.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released the provisional data, which shows that 151 workers were killed between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010 compared to 178 deaths in the previous year and an average number over the last 5 years of 220 deaths per year.

Judith Hackitt, HSE Chair said: "It's really very encouraging to see a further reduction in workplace fatalities in the past year. This is performance which owes much to good practice, leadership and employee engagement. No doubt the recession has resulted in lower levels of activity in some sectors and a decrease in the numbers of new inexperienced recruits has also contributed to this fall in fatalities.

"We should also remember that 151 families are mourning the loss of someone who last year went out to work and never came home. Being one of the best health and safety performers in the world means continuing to strive to drive these numbers down further - not getting complacent about what we've collectively achieved and recognising the new challenges as we emerge from the recession.

"As with all health and safety statistics, today's announcement is a combination of encouraging news about improvement but also a salutary reminder of the tragedies of lives lost at work."

Despite the overall improvement, agriculture, the most dangerous industry in Britain, has recorded a sizeable increase in deaths. 38 workers died on farms in the last year, marking a disappointing return to levels of earlier years after a record low of 25 deaths in 2008/09.

Ms Hackitt added: "We are especially concerned to see the continuing high levels of fatalities in agriculture.

"The fact that many of these lives have been lost in family businesses is a double tragedy. Not only have families been ripped apart, but businesses that have been handed down through generations have been ruined.

"No industry can or should regard high levels of workplace death and injury as being 'part of the job'. It doesn't have to be this way as many other sectors have shown by their improvement."

(CD/BMcC)

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