New figures show extent of workplace safety failings in local area

National statistics reveal 180 people killed at work in the year to April 2009 (HSE latest figures), and 122 killed in the following six months to October 2009.

 

from 29 December 2009 HSE West Midlands news release: 

In 2008/09, an estimated 106 000 people in the West Midlands, who worked in the last year, believed they were suffering from a work-related illness, according to the Labour Force Survey (LFS).  This equates to a prevalence rate of 4000 per 100 000 people (4.0%) working in the last 12 months.
The incidence rate of reportable non-fatal injury in the West Midlands was 1000 per 100 000 worker (1.0%) in 2007/08 (three-year average), based on results from the LFS.
 
In 2008/09, the LFS showed that an estimated 2.7 million working days (full-days equivalent) were lost in the West Midlands due to workplace injury and work-related ill health, at a massive cost to the economy and individual businesses, which is why HSE says it makes perfect sense to make working environments safe.
 
In 2008/09(p), 12 workers were fatally injured at work in West Midlands, compared with 22 workers in 2007/08 (revised figure from 18 reported previously) . 
 
The 2008/09 statistics show 2,634 sustained major injuries and 10,460 more suffered injuries requiring more than three days absence. The figures compare with 2,693 major injuries and 11,353 cases requiring more than three days absence in 2007/08.
 
Last year HSE prosecuted 119 offences committed by West Midlands firms for breaching health and safety legislation and took action against hundreds more by issuing prohibition and improvement notices.In the West Midlands,  38 offences were prosecuted by local authorities in 2008/09.
 
Employers across the West Midlands are being asked to ensure their workers are kept safe in 2010 as Britain’s safety watchdog urges improvement on last year.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), last year more than 250 work related incidents occurred across the West Midlands each week, an annual total of 13,106 people being killed or injured.  HSE hope this figure will act a stark reminder to employers and staff to make their workplaces safer this New Year and drive down casualty rates.
 
The organisation warns that if employers insist on compromising the health of their employees then it will not hesitate in taking enforcement action.
 

Rosi Edwards, the HSE’s West Midlands Regional Director, said:

"Behind these statistics are the real life stories of hundreds and thousands of people and families dealing with real hardship, pain and suffering.  The New Year is an opportune time to reflect on the number of incidents in the past 12 months, and decide to try and stop the same patterns being repeated.  Slips, trips and falls from height are consistently the chief causes of death and serious injury.  Many of these injuries are entirely preventable. We urge businesses to take practical action to manage the risks people face in their day-to-day work.  Britain boasts one of the best health and safety records in Europe but with 180 workplace deaths nationally last year, HSE says there is still much to be done.  

Every employee has the right to return home from work safely and in good health each day. I’m sure employers in the West Midlands share that view.  There are straightforward practical things they can do to prevent injury and ill-health at work: when they carry out risk assessments use them to decide what action they need to take - and do it. If they make sure their workers get involved in assessing the risks and working out how to carry out the task safely, they will understand what they have to do and why. Workers also need to be properly trained for the work they have to do.  HSE works with a number of partners to provide free advice and education to those both carrying out and managing work. We want businesses and the self-employed to work with us to help reduce injuries and make the West Midlands a safer place to work."