Employers urged to take 'health and safety seriously'

28 December 2012

Posted by Samuel Couratin

Businesses have been advised about the importance of taking health and safety seriously in 2013.

Recommending a rethink on workplace safety provisions in the new year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said more needs to be done to prevent accidents, after 2011/12 failed to see a significant fall in the number of deaths.

David Snowball, HSE director for northern England and Scotland said he hoped employers will tackle the "real dangers that workers face and not mire themselves in pointless paperwork" to cut the number of major injuries and deaths in workplace environments.

Last year, 173 workers were killed in Great Britain, just two less than the previous year, and more than 23,000 suffered a serious injury, figures show.

The construction industry, viewed as a high-risk sector, last year saw 49 deaths, while there were 31 fatalities in manufacturing and 33 in agriculture.

Tim Galloway, HSE's head of operations for London said that for some families affected by a workplace death, the festive period is spent thinking about absent loved ones.

"Hundreds of other workers who have had their lives changed forever by major injury will be experiencing difficulties of their own. When put into this kind of context, it is clear why health and safety in the workplace needs to be taken seriously," he said.

Nationally, the figures suggest that on average, six in every one million workers were killed between April 2011 and March 2012.

As well as emphasizing the importance of taking health and safety seriously, the HSE also urged people to avoid wrongly blaming decisions on the sector.

Establishing a Myth Busters Challenge, the regulator said organizations that dishonestly use health and safety as an excuse not only wastes time and money but also "undermines [the industry's] efforts to reduce the number of people made ill, injured or killed by their work".

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