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HSE reports drop in fatal injury figure

Drop in overall workplace fatal injury figure, reports HSE

Figures released today by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have indicated that the number of individuals killed whilst working have fallen to the lowest rate since records began.

The provisional data released reveals that between April 2013 and March this year 133 workers were fatally injured, compared to 150 in the previous year. 

Judith Hackitt, the HSE Chair, said: “The release of the annual statistics always leads to mixed emotions. Sadness for the loss of 133 lives, and sympathy for their families, friends and workmates, but also a sense of encouragement that we continue to make progress in reducing the toll of suffering.

“Whilst these are only provisional figures, they confirm Britain’s performance in health and safety as world class. For the last eight years we have consistently recorded one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers among the leading industrial nations in Europe.”

Minister of State for Health and Safety, Mike Penning, said: “Any death at work is a death too many. But these statistics show that workplaces are getting safer.

“The Health and Safety Executive do an excellent job in making sure each and every one of us can go out to do an honest day’s work in the knowledge that our safety is being taken seriously.”

Figures are broken down into key industrial sectors, including agriculture where they show a fall to 8.77 workers fatally injured in 2013/14, compared to the five year average of 9.89. Waste and recycling industry figures had reduced also with 4 workers fatally injured, compared the average of 7 a year over the past 5 years. 

Rates within the construction industry were at 1.98 per 100,000 workers, falling below the average rate of 2.07. During the year there were 42 workers fatally injured, 4 lower than the average of 46. Unfortuantely this figure has increased from the previous year which was 39. 

In addition to the fatal injuries suffered by workers HSE also reported that its findings show an unfortunate increase in the number of deaths from mesothelioma, a cancer which is caused by asbestos exposure. The figures for this show that 2.535 people died in 2012 from the illness, which is an increase from 2,291 in 2011.

Judith Hackitt said: “The high numbers of deaths relating to mesothelioma are a reminder of historically poor standards of workplace health and safety, which decades later are causing thousands of painful, untimely deaths each year. While we now recognise and are better positioned to manage such health risks, these statistics are a stark reminder of the importance of keeping health standards in the workplace on a par with those we apply to safety.”