Newcastle Expert Says More Should Be Done To Cut Workplace Accidents

Head of Work Accidents at Irwin Mitchell reacts to latest HSE figures

08.04.2009

Newcastle Expert Says More Should Be Done To Cut Workplace Accidents

A Newcastle health and safety expert says much more can be done to reduce the number of accidents in the workplace following the release of the latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures.

The statistics show that over the 2008/09 year to date (Q1 – Q3) major injuries are down only 1.1 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Roger Maddocks, Partner and work accident expert at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “Although it is encouraging that the figures are decreasing it is concerning that the rate of reduction is slowing down.  There is still a lot of work to be done to get businesses to follow even the basic health and safety guidelines.

“People should expect to go to work, do a days work, and return home safely after their duties. Sadly, such a reasonable expectation is often not realised.

“All too often workers come to us after they have suffered serious injury following a work accident which could easily have been avoided. Such industrial accidents cause pain, suffering and misery for the person injured and their family. As noted by the HSE, such accidents at work cost industry an enormous amount of money. So the message is clear: good health and safety for workers is also good business.”

The HSE figures highlight that certain sectors are performing differently. Over the 2008/09 year to date the number of major injuries rose by 9.5 per cent in public services compared with the same period last year, but fell by 8-10 per cent in food, drink and tobacco manufacturing, rest of manufacturing, and construction sectors.

However, the statistics for quarter two to quarter three show a rise in the number of major injuries in certain sectors. The rate of major injuries in food, drink and tobacco rose by 18.2 per cent and 7.7 per cent in retail, wholesale & hospitality.  The number fell by 10.7 per cent in construction.

Mr Maddocks said: “There has been a major downward trend since 2005 but it is worrying that certain sectors are seeing a rise in the number of injuries at work in quarter three.  The evidence suggests that the rate of accidents is starting to fall much slower than in previous years, and in some sectors it is starting to rise, so there is clearly more work to be done.”