Injuries At Work
No one should go to work worrying about whether they will come home or be injured whilst at work however the workplace is a common setting for many injuries which range from minor, where there is a quick recovery, to life changing injuries, such as losing a limb or suffering a spinal cord or brain injury and sometimes even death. The danger of death or life changing injury should never be accepted in any work environment.
No employer can realistically offer a guarantee of complete safety but it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that risks are consistently monitored. However some roles are much more dangerous than others and incidents provide a wake up call that progress still needs to be made.
Workplaces within the construction and manufacturing industries, where heavy machinery and vehicles are commonly present, can prove a greater risk for injury however you can also be injured whilst working in an office.
Health & Safety Executive data up to March 2020 which provides statistics on all kinds of accident in Great Britain and which was published on 4th November 2020, shows that in 2019/20 111 workers were killed at work and an estimated 693,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries. Despite long term reductions in the number of workers injured each year, the type of accident profile remains similar year on year.
Almost half of the fatal injuries to workers over the last five years were from either a fall from a height (25% of all fatal injuries, on average 34 a year and over half were in the construction sector) or being struck by a moving vehicle (19% of all fatal injuries, on average 26 a year and over a quarter of deaths were in agriculture, forestry and the fishing sector).
A further 18% of deaths were from being struck by a moving vehicle in the transportation and storage sector and 14% in the construction sector.
Deaths in “all other accident kinds” were exposure to fire, harmful substances and strike from something fixed or stationary.
About half of all employers reported non fatal injuries to employees in 2019/20 as a result of slips, trips or falls and/or handling, lifting or carrying accidents across all main industry sectors.
Fractures, other than to fingers, thumbs or toes were the biggest specified injury category accounting for around 90% of all reported specified injuries in 2019/20.
Health, Safety and Environment prosecutions declined sharply last year after its budget was cut by a third.
The continuing culture of “self regulation” is clearly not working in the best interests of workers and it should not be left to business to ensure that health and safety is put ahead of profit. There should be greater regulation for the safety of employees on sites.
However it is worth bearing in mind that workplace deaths are far less common today than they were in the past and the annual average number of workers killed on the job has stood at 141 over the last 5 years which is considerably lower than the figure of 274 recorded 20 or more years ago in 1997/98 or 495 in 1981 when records began.