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Health and Safety at Work


Health and Safety at Work

Coronavirus emergency measures on this topic!

What’s new on this topic [see What’s new page or archive for full item]:

16/03/2020: COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses

The Government has today published new and updated guidance to provide affected sectors with the latest advice on managing the threat from COVID-19. The Public Health England guidance provides important information for specific sectors, including schools and transport, on what precautions to take, what to do if someone develops symptoms and how to limit the spread of the virus.

Introduction - why does Health and Safety at work matter?

The subject of health and safety at work (and in the home) has acquired a bad press in recent years (e.g. “elf ‘n safety” stories), usually undeservedly. Officials at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) spend much time trying to counter-act health and safety scare stories and criticisms in the media.

Nevertheless every business must pay attention to this subject. Severe injuries and death are unfortunately caused by accidents at work on a weekly basis

Quite apart from the human suffering and life-changing aspects caused by work accidents, fines for health and safety offences may amount to thousands of pounds, tens of thousands for severe injuries and six figure amounts in the case of fatalities.

In serious cases, directors or senior managment may be sentenced to imprisonment.

Workplace injury - all industries

Key workplace injury statistics for 20198/19 in Great Britain were:

* 1.4 million working people suffering from a work-related illness

* 2,526 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2017)

* 147 workers killed at work

* 581,000 working people sustaining an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey

*  69,208 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR

* 28.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury

In recent decades there have been large reductions in both fatal and non-fatal workplace injuries (See Charts 5-7 below). However, the picture for ill health is mixed. There have been reductions in the rate of total self-reported work-related illness (total includes both new and long-standing cases), particularly musculoskeletal disorders (Chart 1 and 2). The rate of total self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety shows signs of increasing in recent years having previously remained broadly flat

Fatal injuries to workers

The breakdown of fatal injuries according to industrial sectors were :

* Agriculture, forestry and fishing - 32

* Construction - 30

* Manufacturing  -26

* Other: 59

The main kinds of fatal accidents for workers were:

* Falls from a height - 40

* Struck by a moving vehicle - 30

* Struck by a moving object - 16

* Contact with moving machinery - 14

[Source: Health and Safety Executive]

What should you do about it?

The Health and Safety Executive’s website is a good resource. The HSE is the government agency charged with enforcing the law and advising business and the public on health and safety issues.

Basic guidance is available from the “Health and safety made simple” section of the HSE site.

Even an office based business providing only services needs to take care to comply with good health and safety practices.

A “Getting Started” guide for businesses starting is provided in the HSE website. 

You would be well advised to sign up for news alerts from the HSE, particularly if you are in construction, manufacturing, transport/logistics or any trade or industry involving machinery.
According to the HSE data for 2013/14:

Don’t know if your business complies? Check out our Legaleze health and safety compliance report service in our Direct services.

Read this subject in more detail

[Page updated: 16/03/2020]


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H&S at work