Workplace Safety still an issue in the North West

Workplace Safety still an issue in the North West

The health and safety executive has recently released an appeal to employers in the North West to make their employees safety the top priority. The appeal is not accusing employers of not having procedures in place for worker safety instead it is highlighting the ever growing improvements needed to completely eradicate workplace injuries.

In the report it is noted in the North West in the year 2013/14 that 15 people lost their lives and 9,342 suffered an injury. This is an increase on previous year of 14 deaths and 9,401 injuries.  The national statistics reported 133 deaths at work and 9,342 suffered injuries.

It is obviously more common for these types of injuries to happen in workplaces that involve manual labour and the use of tools/machinery, as they present the highest risk when accidents occur. Certain workplaces do however generate more injuries than others such as construction, manufacturing and waste and recycling, with agriculture another industry noted to need improvements.

The types of injuries sustained in the workplace always vary depending on the work and the environment that the employee is in. Certain workplace injuries are noted as a cause for concern by the HSE such as falls from heights, machinery related injuries and transportation. Injuries are not always the only concern for employee safety as many work related conditions happen years after the original incident such as Noise Induced Hearing Loss, where by employees suffer from hearing loss issues many years after the original exposure. By preventing both immediate and long term injures/conditions employees will not have to suffer due to their work.

Health and Safety cannot be dismissed in modern workplaces due to the widespread promotion and knowledge of employee safety. However on a positive note the rate of injuries and deaths has reduced dramatically since the introduction of the Health and Safety regulations in 1975. To continue on this path awareness of the issues faced in the workplace must still be promoted and employers should make employee safety their number one focus.

Steven Smith, HSE’s Head of Operations for the North West, said:

The families of the workers in the North West who sadly lost their lives last year have just had to spend the festive period without their loved ones, while hundreds of other workers were made ill through their work or had their lives changed forever by a major injury. The figures offer encouragement that we are continuing to head in the right direction, but they also show that we can still go further and challenge the industries where there is room to do more. Workplace conditions have improved dramatically in the past four decades, but as employers plan and prepare for the new financial year they need to ensure that health, safety and welfare is a clear focus.”

HSE Chair Judith Hackitt added:

In the forty years since HSE was formed, we’ve worked with businesses, workers and government to make Britain a healthier and safer place to work. Thousands of serious injuries have been prevented and work-related deaths have reduced by 85 per cent. HSE has helped Britain become one of the safest places to work in the world. But we must also recognise that there is still a big challenge to prevent the suffering which does still occur. Seeing the annual statistics always leads to mixed emotions, sympathy for those who have suffered injury themselves and for the families and workmates of those who have lost their lives, determination to improve things further as well as encouragement that we are continuing to make progress in reducing the toll of suffering. 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. However, in HSE’s 40th year it is right that we acknowledge the progress we’ve made and look to a future of striving to bring down these statistics even further.”

[1] “Appeal to North West employers as new figures underline importance of workplace safety”, Health and Safety Executive,