Current figures show all time low in fatal injuries to workers, but what about long term injuries?
New figures have recently been released by the Health and Safety Executive which state that the number of fatal injuries to workers has fallen in recent years. Fatal injuries have always been a part of industrial work such as manual labour due to the context of the jobs often involving hazardous tools and working environments.
However, long term fatal injuries in the workplace are increasingly a concern. Long term fatal injuries are injuries which do not present themselves at the time of exposure to the dangerous environment or substance. As an example, when exposed to asbestos, the symptoms of mesothelioma and asbestosis do not always present themselves until years after exposure to the material. This means the fatal element of the injury does not affect the individual until many years later, sometimes decades.
In 2012, there were 2,535 deaths relating to mesothelioma which is an increase from 2011 where there were 2,291 deaths. Mesothelioma symptoms appear around 40 years after exposure. This long latency period, combined with the sharp drop in asbestos exposure after the 1960s, means that the peak in Asbestos related deaths is probably yet to be reached. It has been predicted that in 2020 the amount of mesothelioma fatalities will peak.
The government has set about introducing compensation and funding with the mesothelioma bill which gives victims or families access to compensation. This also means that awareness of Mesothelioma and its severity will increase with more cases being reported in the media.