UK workplace safety standards continue to improve

With health and safety becoming a fundamental part of the UK’s workplaces, and with employers increasingly aware of the dangers that could lead to accident at work compensation claims, the number of serious injuries caused by accidents at work has fallen in recent years.

New figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that between April 2012 and March 2013, there was an 11% fall in the number of major workplace injuries in the UK when compared with the same period last year.

Overall, the HSE’s provisional statistics reveal that from April 2012 to March 2013, there was:

–          A total of 19,707 major injuries to employees reported. These include burns, fractures and amputations, and represent a major injury rate of 78.5 per 100,000 workers. This compares with 2011 to 2012’s figure of 22,094 major injuries – a significantly higher figure, representing a rate of 88.5 major injuries for every 100,000 employees.

–          148 people fatally injured in accidents at work, compared with 171 in 2011 to 2012 and substantially lower than the five-year average of 181. In 2012 to 2013, the fatal injury rate in the UK’s workplaces was just 0.5 per 100,000 workers.

–          78,000 injuries were reported to the HSE under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences regulations

–          175,000 absences longer than seven days were recorded

Other key statistics come from 2011 to 2012.

–          27 million days worth of workplace absences were recorded due to work-related illness or injury

–          1.1 million people suffered from some form of work-related illness

Excluding cancer, workplace ill-health and work-related injury cost the UK approximately £13.8 billion in 2010 to 2011, compared with 2006 to 1007’s cost of £16.3 billion. Overall, £8 billion was given to workers for their pain, suffering and grief in accident at work compensation claims in 2010 to 2011, with the remaining £5.7 billion representing financial costs.

However, the industries most likely to see accident at work compensation claims have remained the same over recent years. Construction saw 156 major injuries for every 100,000 workers in the 2012 to 2013 period, with this figure reaching 239.4 in the agricultural sector and hitting 369.8 in the waste and recycling sector. The HSE noted that these three sectors are among the most dangerous industries in the UK. Construction saw 39 fatal accidents at work, while agriculture saw 29 and waste and recycling saw ten.

While the news of safer workplaces is welcome, the number of accident at work compensation claims and preventable workplace injuries is still too high. Simple safety measures enacted across the UK’s workplaces could have saved the lives of hundreds and prevented thousands of people from suffering from health problems.

Nonetheless, the UK should be pleased with how far it has come. According to Eurostat data, the UK has the third-lowest rate of fatal injuries of all countries reported on, and compared with other large economies such as France, Italy, Spain and Germany, Great Britain performs considerably well.

Taylor Watson is a blogger who works alongside a team of accident at work compensation specialists. She has had his work published across a huge range of different platforms and media. She has previously worked as a content writer and a journalist.

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