HSE releases annual workplace fatality figures – second lowest year on record

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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has this week released its annual figures for work-related fatalities, as well as the number of people known to have died from the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, in 2015.

The provisional annual data for work-related fatal accidents revealed that 137 workers were fatally injured between April 2016 and March 2017 (a rate of 0.43 per 100,000 workers), the second lowest year on record.

There has been a long-term downward trend in the number of fatal injuries to workers – they have halved over the last 20 years – although in recent years the trend shows signs of leveling.

HSE Chair Martin Temple said:

“Every fatality is a tragic event that should not happen. While we are encouraged by this improvement on the previous year, we continue unwaveringly on our mission to prevent injury, death and ill health by protecting people and reducing risks.”

The new figures show the rate of fatal injuries in several key industrial sectors:

  • 30 fatal injuries to construction workers were recorded. While this accounts for the largest share, this is the lowest number on record for the sector. However, over the last five years the number has fluctuated, The annual average for the past five years is 39. The annual average rate over the last five years in construction is around four times as high as the all industry rate.
  • 27 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded. This sector continues to account for a large share of the annual fatality count. It has the highest rate of fatal injury of all the main industry sectors, around 18 times as high as the all industry rate.
  • 14 fatal injuries to waste and recycling workers were recorded. Despite being a relatively small sector in terms of employment, the annual average fatal injury rate over the last five years is around 15 times as high as the all industry rate.

The fatalities in the waste and recycling sector in 2016/17 include the single incident at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Ltd in Birmingham on 7 July 2016 which resulted in five deaths.

Martin Temple continued:

“As we approach the one-year anniversary of this incident, our thoughts remain with the families of those who died. We continue to fully support West Midlands Police’s investigation.”

The new figures also highlight the risks to older workers – around a quarter of fatal injuries in 2016/17 were to workers aged 60 or over, even though such workers made up only around 10% of the workforce.

There were also 92 members of the public fatally injured in accidents connected to work in 2016/17. Almost half of these occurred on railways with the remainder occurring across a number of sectors including public services, entertainment and recreation.

Mesothelioma, one of the few work related diseases where deaths can be counted directly, contracted through past exposure to asbestos killed 2,542 in Great Britain in 2015 compared to 2,519 in 2014. The current figures relating to asbestos-related cancer reflect widespread exposures before 1980. Annual deaths are therefore expected to start to reduce after this current decade.

A fuller assessment of work related ill-health and injuries, drawing on HSE’s full range of data sources, will be provided as part of the annual Health and Safety Statistics release on 1 November 2017.

The HSE Chair added:

“We deal daily with the causes and consequences of work-related deaths, injuries and ill health. Today’s updated figures continue to inform our understanding of which areas we need to target.”

“We concentrate our interventions where we know we can have the biggest impact. We hold dutyholders accountable for managing the risks they create in the workplace. This benefits workers, business performance, the economy and wider society alike.”

Further information on these statistics can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics. For more information on any of the above topics, visit the HSE website www.hse.gov.uk, or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

 

 

Health and Safety Statistics 2015/16

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The health and safety statistics for 2015/16 have been published by the HSE and are available at the following link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/index.htm. In summary, compared to the previous year, work-related fatalities, ill health and days lost are up by 1.41%, 8.33% and 11.36% respectively. However, non-fatal injuries, economic cost and enforcements are down by 4.34%, 1.4% and 8.26% respectively. Below are the statistics in more depth.

Key figures for Great Britain (2015/16)

  • 3 million working people suffering from a work-related illness
  • 2,515 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2014)
  • 144 workers killed at work
  • 72,702 other injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 621,000 injuries occurred at work according to the Labour Force Survey
  • 4 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
  • £14.1 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2014/15)

Work-related ill health and occupational disease

The latest results show that:

  • Around 13,000 deaths each year from occupational lung disease and cancer are estimated to have been caused by past exposures at work, primarily to chemicals and dusts.
  • An estimated 1.3 million people who worked in 2015/16 were suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by work. Of these, 0.5 million were new cases which started in the year (LFS).
  • Around 80% of self-reported work-related conditions were musculoskeletal disorders or stress, depression or anxiety (LFS).
  • The estimated rate of self-reported work-related ill health, and specifically musculoskeletal disorders, showed a generally downward trend to around 2011/12; more recently the rate has been broadly flat. The rate for stress, depression or anxiety has been broadly flat for more than a decade (LFS).
  • The majority (85%) of new cases of work-related ill health reported by participating GPs in the THOR-GP surveillance scheme, during 2013-2015, were musculoskeletal disorders or mental ill health (THOR-GP).
  • In 2015/16, an estimated 25.9 million working days were lost due to self-reported work-related illness (LFS).
  • Estimated working days lost per worker due to self-reported work-related illness showed a generally downward trend up to around 2009/10; since then the rate has remained broadly flat (LFS).

Workplace injury – all industries

In 2015/16:

  • 144 workers were killed as a result of a workplace accident. (RIDDOR)
  • Fall from a height (26%), being struck be a moving vehicle (19%) or being struck by a moving object (10%) were the main kind of fatal accident accounting for just over half of all fatalities
  • An estimated 621,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury at work according to self-reports. (Labour Force Survey – LFS). Of these injuries:
  • 200,000 led to over 3 days absence from work; of which
  • 152,000 led to over 7 days absence.
  • Being injured handling, lifting or carrying (20%), slipping or tripping (19%), and being hit by a moving object (10%) were the main kind of non-fatal accident accounting for around half of all non-fatal injuries.
  • There were 72,702 non-fatal injuries to employees reported by employers (which only includes over-7-day injuries and specified injuries). (RIDDOR)
  • Note: Non-fatal injuries to employees are substantially under-reported by employers, with current levels of reporting estimated at around a half; and the reporting of injuries to the self-employed a much lower proportion.
  • In total, an estimated 4.5 million working days were lost due to self-reported workplace injuries, on average 7.2 days per case (LFS).

Longer-term picture

  • Over the longer term, there has been a decline in both fatal and non-fatal injuries:
  • There has been a long-term downward trend in the rate of fatal injury, although in recent years this shows signs of levelling off.
  • Rates of self-reported non-fatal injury to workers showed a downward trend up to 2010/11; since then the rate has been broadly flat. (LFS)
  • The rate of non-fatal injury to employees reported by employers fell in 2015/16, continuing the long-term downward trend.

Thankyou to Bryan & Armstrong Ltd (www.bryan-armstrong.com), for very kindly providing us with the below infographic, relating to the latest annual health and safety statistics:

HSE Health and safety statistics 2015/16 Infographic
Click image to open full version (via Bryan Armstrong Ltd).

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 29TH OCTOBER 2015

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IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

HSE issues health warning to the stone industry

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Work related injury and ill health still costing Britain £14 billion per year

Introduction

We open this week’s update with a health warning issued by the HSE to the stone industry, but also relevant to industries where exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) can occur. Worryingly, during a recent inspection initiative in the south of England, a number of businesses were found to be unaware that in 2006 the workplace exposure limit for RCS was revised from 0.3 mg/m3 to 0.1mg/m3 thereby requiring them to devise more stringent controls.

Also, with the widely reported news yesterday that Volkswagen could be facing corporate manslaughter charges over rigged diesel emission tests, we look at the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, and the impact its introduction has had on companies and organisations – particularly the way in which their activities are managed and organised by senior management.

And finally, we share news of the financial – and human – cost to Britain of work related injury and ill health in the year 2014/15 according to statistics released by this week by the HSE.

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

HSE issues health warning to the stone industry

The Health and Safety Executive is urging the stone industry to do more to protect workers’ health following findings of a recent inspection initiative in the south of England.

HSE inspectors visited sixty stone businesses, including work surface manufacturers, stonemasons and monumental masons during the initiative, which ran from June to September, and was supported by trade association, Stone Federation Great Britain. The visited businesses were both Stone Federation Great Britain members and non-members.

Worryingly, serious breaches were found at over half (35) of the premises that were visited. HSE issued four Prohibition Notices, 54 Improvement Notices and provided verbal advice to others.

Although many of the sites visited were attempting to manage their health and safety, four common areas of concern were found throughout the initiative –

  • control of respirable crystalline silica (RCS), a hazardous dust which can damage health,
  • handling and storage of stone,
  • poor machinery guarding, and
  • air compressors can create an explosion risk.

A number of businesses were unaware that in 2006 the workplace exposure limit for RCS was revised from 0.3 mg/m3 to 0.1mg/m3 thereby requiring them to devise more stringent controls.

Key issues in this area were:

  • Dry sweeping which can put fine ‘respirable’ stone dust back into the workplace air;
  • Extraction systems which are intended to protect workers by removing stone dust from air in the workplace;
  • Face masks that were inadequate.

HSE Inspector Tahir Mortuza, who led on the initiative, said:

“HSE intends to visit more stone work businesses in the future to ensure that health and safety is adequately managed. Business owners should review their processes and the materials they use whilst thinking about what might cause harm and whether they are doing enough to protect workers.

“Once the risks have been identified, businesses need to decide how best to control them so they can put the appropriate measures in place. A good starting point is to look at respirable crystalline silica, as it is one of the greatest risks for businesses engaged in stonework, as found in this inspection campaign.”

Chief Executive of the Stone Federation Great Britain, Jane Buxey, said:

“Health and Safety is a top priority for the Federation and we are working closely with the HSE to improve standards in the Industry.

“We hope to run a number of joint events with HSE and they will be sending representatives to Stone Federation Great Britain events and the Federation’s Health and Safety Forum.”

You can also keep up to date with new guidance, events and other important stone working issues by signing up for the stone working e-bulletin: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stonemasonry/subscribe.htm

Occupational exposure to RCS can also occur in the following industries:

  • construction and demolition processes – concrete, stone, brick, mortar;
  • quarrying;
  • slate mining and slate processing;
  • potteries, ceramics, ceramic glaze manufacture, brick and tile manufacture;
  • foundries;
  • refractory production and cutting;
  • concrete product manufacture;
  • grit and abrasive blasting, particularly on sandstone.

The HSE have published a leaflet “Control of exposure to silica dust – A guide for employees”, free to download by clicking on the following link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg463.pdf

For clarification or more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

It has been widely reported in the news this week that Volkswagen could be facing corporate manslaughter charges over rigged diesel emission tests.

What is corporate manslaughter?

When the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into force in April 2008, it was a landmark in law. For the first time, companies and organisations could be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.

The Act clarifies the criminal liabilities of companies including large organisations where serious failures in the management of health and safety result in a fatality.

The Ministry of Justice leads on the Act and more information is available on its Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 webpage.

Although the offence is not part of health and safety law, the HSE welcomed and supports the act, which has introduced an important new element in the corporate management of health and safety.

Prosecutions are of the corporate body and not individuals, but the liability of directors, board members or other individuals under health and safety law or general criminal law, are unaffected. And the corporate body itself and individuals can still be prosecuted for separate health and safety offences.

The Act also largely removes the Crown immunity that applied to the previous common law corporate manslaughter offence. This is consistent with Government and HSE policy to secure the eventual removal of Crown immunity for health and safety offences. The Act provides a number of specific exemptions that cover public policy decisions and the exercise of core public functions.

Companies and organisations should keep their health and safety management systems under review, in particular, the way in which their activities are managed and organised by senior management. The Institute of Directors and HSE have published guidance for directors on their responsibilities for health and safety: ‘Leading health and safety at work: leadership actions for directors and board members’ (INDG417): http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg417.pdf

For answers to the following FAQs, click on the link http://www.hse.gov.uk/corpmanslaughter/faqs.htm#where:

  • Where can I find the Act and any guidance?
  • When did the new Act come into force?
  • Are there any new duties or obligations under the Act?
  • What do companies and organisations need to do to comply?
  • Where does health and safety legislation come in?
  • Who will investigate and prosecute under the new offence?
  • What is the role of health and safety regulators like HSE, local authorities etc?
  • Will directors, board members or other individuals be prosecuted?

For clarification or more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Work related injury and ill health still costing Britain £14 billion per year

More than a million people are being made ill by their work, costing society £14.3 billion, according to new figures published this week.

Despite Britain remaining one of the safest places to work in Europe, injury and ill-health statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive show that an estimated 27.3 million working days were lost due to work related ill health or injury in 2014/15.

In the same year 142 workers were killed, and there were 611,000 injuries in the workplace.

Of the estimated 1.2 million people who suffered from a work related illness, 516,000 were new cases.

HSE’s Chief Statistician Alan Spence explains more about the latest findings in this video (click on the link): https://youtu.be/T5zRbXfQKpg

The full statistical report (http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1415.pdf) and industry specific data (http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/industry/index.htm) can be found online (click on the links).

This is the view of HSE’s Chair Judith Hackitt: “It’s encouraging that there have been improvements in injuries and ill health caused by work related activities. But behind the statistics are people, their families, friends, work colleagues, directly affected by something that’s gone wrong, that is usually entirely preventable. Nobody should lose their life or become ill simply from doing their job. These figures show that despite the great strides and improvements made over the last 40 years since Britain’s health and safety regime was established, there is still more that can be done”.

(Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence)

Thankyou to Bryan & Armstrong Ltd (www.bryan-armstrong.com), for very kindly providing us with the below infographic, relating to the latest annual health and safety statistics:

HSE Health and safety statistics 2014/15 Infographic
Click image to open full version (via Bryan Armstrong Ltd).