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Workers bearing the financial brunt of health and safety in the workplace

In the UK, a total of 27.3 million working days were lost in the last 12 months due to work-place injuries. New figures from the Health and Safety Executive for 2014/15 also revealed work-related fatalities increased by nine compared with the previous year. A worrying statistic considering the annual reports had shown a downward trend in the amount of accidents, fatalities and illnesses in the last 5 years.

The Most Dangerous Industries to Work in

The total number of work related fatalities hit 142 last year. 50% of those deaths occurred in the construction and agriculture sectors alone.

The most affected industries in terms of risk for work-related injuries are:

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

  • Around 4% of workers sustain a work related injury each year
  • In the last 12 months, 33 deaths have been recorded as a result of working in this industry
  • 125 working days were lost due to work place injuries

Construction

  • Around 3% of workers sustain a work related injury each year
  • 35 fatalities have been recorded in the last year within the construction industry
  • A total of 0.5 million working days were lost as a result of a work related injury
  • The days lost last year amount to 1,976 years’ worth of work

Transport and storage

  • Around 3% of workers sustain a work related injury each year
  • A total of 300,000 working days were lost as a result of a work related injury last year
  • The transport sector lost out on 1,186 years’ worth of work as a result of accidents at work in the last 12 months

Cost Implications

Data from 2013/2014 shows that total costs for workplace injury and illness have fallen over the last 10 years and are 18% lower than 2004/2005. A large majority of these costs fall on the injured individuals, at a cost of £8.2 billion across all sectors. The affected employers, and the Government, bear similar large sums, at £2.8 billion and £3.4 billion respectively. These statistics are level with 2009/2010, which concludes that individuals are taking the burden for what is showing that be a continuing issue in the workplace.

Judith Hackitt, chair of the HSE commented on the statistics saying, ”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.”

Jane Woodcock, senior legal executive at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “Unfortunately, we are still seeing far too many examples of employers failing to ensure their staff are working in a safe environment, as in many cases, an accident at work can have devastating, life-changing consequences for the individual concerned.

“Industries such as construction, manufacturing and agriculture in particular have a huge responsibility to continually review and improve safety procedures and policies to ensure any new demands on their business activities do not compromise employee safety.

“No business owner wants to have the loss of life, or a serious injury, on their conscience, but so many do because of a failure to take simple measures to protect their staff, and ensure health and safety policies are strictly followed by all, at all times.

“We have successfully claimed more than £7million in compensation from Accident at Work cases in the last four years, which shows there is some way to go to ensure all employers take the responsibility of looking after their workers responsibly.”

It is for that reason that we continue to support and rehabilitate affected people of injuries at work both financially and emotionally. As these new figures show, work safety is still a major issue in the UK and there is still much work to be done to ensure people receive the care and attention they deserve.

If you feel you have been affected by an accident at work that wasn’t your fault, it is recommended that you seek a specialised solicitor who is experienced in dealing with these claims.

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