Thursday, 1 July 2010

Work-related deaths fall across the North West

Less workers were killed in accidents at work in the North West last year than in 2008, but the government's Health and Safety Executive are still disappointed by the figures released yesterday.

19 workers were killed at work in the North West between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010, according to new figures released by the HSE, a small reduction in fatalities, compared to an average of 27 work-related deaths in the past five years in the region, and 23 fatal injures in 2008/09.

Across Britain, the number of people killed at work has fallen to a new record low with 151 workers dying at work in 2009/10 – down 15 per cent on the previous lowest total of 178 in the year before.

“While it’s heartening to see a reduction in the number of work-related deaths in the North West, it’s simply not good enough that 19 people failed to come home from work to their families last year," feels David Sowerby, the North West’s top health and safety official.

“Yet again, falls from height and incidents involving workplace transport are among the biggest killers, and companies must act now to improve safety," the Divisional Director continues. “Many of these unnecessary deaths could have been avoided if simple and sensible precautions had been in place, and if workers had been involved in dealing with the risks they face.

“Once more, the agriculture and construction industries figure prominently in the North West fatalities – and we all must work hard to tackle the poor safety record in these sectors.

“For the sake of those workers who have lost their lives, HSE will continue to take an uncompromising approach to safety.”

"It’s really very encouraging to see a further reduction in workplace fatalities in the past year," added Judith Hackitt, the HSE Chair. "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.

“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, the announcement is a combination of encouraging news about improvement but also a salutary reminder of the tragedies of lives lost at work.”

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