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Workplace Deaths Reach Record Low

HSE Reveal Latest Fatal Work Accident Information


The number of people killed in the workplace in the UK has reached a record low, according to the latest figures.

The Health and Safety Executive revealed workplace deaths fell from 233 in 2007/08 to 180. The number of serious injuries sustained at work was also cut by more than 7,000.

Over the last 12 months, the number of days lost due to injury or ill-health across the UK was 29 million, down from the 33.9 millions the previous year. The HSE also revealed that the UK is one of the safest places to work within the EU.

HSE chairman Judith Hackitt said the figures were "really encouraging".

She said: "Protecting people from harm caused by work remains important irrespective of the economic climate.

"Having shown that Great Britain can achieve a performance that compares favourably with other industrialised nations as we entered the global recession, the challenge now is to maintain that improvement as we move towards recovery and increased activity in some economic sectors.

"In spite of the encouraging overall statistics today let's not forget that they tell also a story of individuals and families who have suffered. This underlines the real risks that people can face at work every day."

The HSE said it continued to take a tough line with firms which put workers at risk by breaking safety legislation, bringing 1,231 offences to court in 2008/9, and issuing 8,054 enforcement notices.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “Whilst the figures released by the Health and Safety Executive are a cause for cautious optimism, I think it is dangerous to view them as "really encouraging".

“Despite there being a reduction in the number of workers seriously injured or killed following an accident at work, we must remember that each and every one of these cases represents a tragedy for the worker concerned as well as their family.

“Whilst these figures show that things are moving in the right direction, the numbers injured and killed following a work accident remain unacceptably high.

“I do not believe that it is unreasonable for a worker to go to work with the reasonable expectation of coming home again of an evening safe and sound.  Sadly, all too often this is not the case.”