Workplace injury and workplace death
Figures released by the Health and Safety Executive reveal that workplace death and injury in the UK remain at unacceptably high levels. This weeks Workers Memorial Day, which is held on 28 April every year, aims to highlight these continuing tragedies in the workplace, remembering those who have suffered and continue to suffer in their place of work.
Fatal workplace injury
These latest figures from the HSE (1) compare fatal workplace injuries among UK workers in five industry sectors each year. The figures show 161 people being killed from April 2005 to December 2005 compared with 184 being killed during the same period in 2004. This lack of any significant improvement in statistics comes despite ever increasing measures to safeguard the well-being of workers.
One of the industry sectors with the highest occurrence of deaths is the construction sector. The recent scaffolding collapse in Milton Keynes and the resulting fatality of John Robinson (49) was a stark reminder of the unacceptable dangers inherent in many peoples job of work.
The lack of improvement in the safety record shown by these statistics is in direct contrast to the statistics on the total numbers of deaths in road accidents which have fallen by 8%, and the number of pedestrians killed which is at a 40 year low.(2)
Fatal workplace injury legal advice
The HSE statistics have concerned many. Commenting, Adrian Budgen, Head of the Workplace Injury Litigation Team at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, which represents many thousands of clients who have suffered accidents or illnesses as a result of their working environment, said; People are becoming ill, incapacitated and even losing their lives because employers are not seeing the health and safety of their employees as a priority and we are just not seeing any improvement in the figures.
Things are not getting better. People should be able to go to work and believe that they will return home safely at night. The levels of deaths and injuries related to the workplace in the UK are inexcusable and highlight the continued negligence by many employers as the country continues to experience an occupational hazards epidemic.
The TUC coordinates activities across the country, publishing a comprehensive listing of events and suggestions. A listing of the global activities is available from the Hazards website. Key themes for 2006 are "union workplaces - safer workplaces" and "ban asbestos worldwide."
In addition to the 161 people who have died from workplace accidents between April and December 2005, at least a further 4000 people in Britain died during the entire calendar year following exposure to Asbestos in the workplace. Arguably the cruellest form of disease related to asbestos exposure is Mesothelioma, an incurable Cancer whose symptoms can take between 20 and 50 years to manifest themselves.
For further information in the events being staged across the UK on April 28th for Workers Memorial Day please visit www.tuc.org.uk.