UK Government

Health and Safety Executive (London): A safer place to work

Press Release   •   Oct 28, 2010 12:06 BST

Fewer people across London are being seriously or fatally injured through their work, according to figures released today (27 October) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

There were 2,433 serious workplace injuries recorded in the region last year compared to 2,690 in 2008/9 and 11 deaths − eight fewer than the previous year.

The estimated number of people suffering from work-related illnesses rose by 17,000 from 121,000 in 2008/09 to 138,000 last year.

Stephen Williams, Divisional Director for London, said:

“This is once again a step in the right direction. However, these figures show that there are still many cases where the health and safety of workers is not being taken seriously. It is particularly disappointing that work related ill-health has increased.

“It is not trivia. Employers have a legal duty to protect their employees. Health and safety needs to be at the very heart of the business and not seen as an add-on, tick-box exercise at best or an unnecessary burden at worst.

“Last year in London we secured convictions for more than 50 breaches of health and safety law by companies and individuals. We will continue to target those who fail to meet the standards that workers have a right to expect.”

HSE continues to take a tough line with firms in London who put workers at risk by breaking safety legislation. It brought 105 offences to court in 2009/10, 58 of which led to conviction.

Across England, Scotland and Wales, 28.5 million working days (equivalent to 1.2 days per worker) were lost to injury and ill health last year – compared with 29.3 million in 2008/09. That figure stands at 2.3 million in London for 2009/10, an average of 0.73 days per worker.

National workplace fatal injuries fell from 179 in 2008/09 to a record low of 152 in 2009/10, and there was a reduction of more than 11,000 in the number of workplace injuries classified as serious or incurring more than three days absence from work.

Comparison with international data still shows Britain to be one of the safest places to work in the EU.

Judith Hackitt, Chair of HSE said:

“It is encouraging to see further reduction in the number of people being killed and seriously injured at work. We now need to ensure that the improvements which are being made continue. Every statistic represents an individual or a family which is now suffering as a result of health and safety failings at work.

“Britain remains one of the safest places to work in the EU and we are rightly proud of this record. The challenge now is to focus on those areas where improvement is slow to emerge.

“We know what good practice looks like but there remain significant areas of poor practice which still result in serious harm to people at work. These statistics also remind us yet again of the significant gains which are yet to be made in reducing the harm caused to people’s health by work.”

Major injuries at work have fallen since 2000 and this trend continued last year with 27,096 workers reported as being injured in 2009/10 (91.0 per 100,000) compared with 29,000 in 2008/09 (95.2 per 100,000).

The number of people estimated to be suffering from work-related ill health in 2009/10 was 1.3 million. Almost 1.2 million fewer working days were lost to ill health – a total of 23.4 million.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. HSE publishes a full range of workplace health and safety statistics. These can be viewed at:http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/index.htm

2. In 2007, the most recent year for which statistics are available across the EU, the average rate of work-related fatal injury in the EU, excluding traffic accidents, was 2.1 per 100,000 workers. The European statistical agency, Eurostat, published the results of a labour force survey in 2007, which showed that the EU average across all 27-member states for work-related ill health is 8,600 incidents per 100,000 workers. These are the most recent figures.

3. The Labour Force Survey is a survey of households living at private addresses in the UK. Its purpose is to provide information on the UK labour market which can then be used to develop, manage, evaluate and report on labour market policies, and includes questions about work-related ill health, which HSE then publishes. The survey is managed by the Office of National Statistics in Britain.

4. The reporting of health and safety incidents at work is a statutory requirement, set out under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). A reportable incident includes: a death or major injury; any accident which does not result in major injury, but the injured person still has to take four or more days off their normal work to recover; a work-related disease; a member of the public being injured as a result of work-related activity and taken to hospital for treatment; or a dangerous occurrence (which does not result in a serious injury, but could have done).

5. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk

Media enquiries:

Cindy Ferguson 0207 261 8529 cindy.ferguson@hse.gsi.gov.uk

Out of Hours 0151 922 1221

Public enquiries:

HSE InfoLine 0845 3450055

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