New Work Deaths Figures Confirm Plateau

2 Nov 2008

The workplace fatality rate has not changed appreciably in the last six years, latest Health and Safety Executive figures show (HSE). Statistics released this week reveal 229 workers were killed in 2007/08. This is down five per cent on 2006/07 when 247 workers died, but higher than the figure for either 2004/05 or 2006/07. HSE says reported major injuries at work fell by around 9 per cent since the start of the decade and this trend continues. Work-related ill-health has also fallen across the period, ‘although the rate of improvement here is not as great as hoped,’ HSE concedes, admitting it is ‘probably not on track’ to meet its ill-health reduction targets. HSE chair Judith Hackitt said: ‘Any improvement in the number of people being injured or made ill by work must be welcomed. However, there is a need for a step change. Of particular concern are the agriculture, construction and waste and recycling industries.’ She added: ‘HSE is developing a new strategy that seeks to renew commitment from all those involved in health and safety to tackle these challenges and more. In the difficult and uncertain months ahead I urge employers not to take their eyes off the ball. Good business management will be vital and good health and safety management is an integral part of that. Health and safety contributes positively to competitiveness and should not be sacrificed in times of financial pressure.’ The number of HSE prosecutions, convictions and enforcement notices were all lower than 2006/07.