Figures released today by the north west division of the Health and Safety Executive showed that the number of injuries and fatalities that take place in the workplace have decreased marginally in the north west of England, suggesting that workplace health and safety has improved in the region over the past year.
The number of workplace fatalities decreased by 50%, from 4 to 2, whereas the number of major injuries dropped from 1,272 to 1,116 over the course of the year. In addition, 4,139 workers experienced an injury that required at least three days off work in order to recover, compared to 4,520 the previous year.
However, the figures from the Greater Manchester area do not reflect those of the rest of the country. The number of workplace fatalities nationwide increased from 147 in 2009/10 to 171 in 2010/11. This 16% increase has lead to a stark warning from the HSE about the state of health and safety in the workplace, particularly in high-risk industries, such as construction, which accounted for 50 of the 171 fatalities during the 12-month period.
However, it should be noted that the 171 fatalities is actually 17% lower than the national average from the past five years, which is 205. In addition, in comparison to figures from other EU countries, Britain has had consistently low workplace fatality and injury figures.
Workplace health and safety is an incredibly important issue for both employers and employees alike. In 2010/11 alone, 26.4 million working days were lost due to job-related illnesses and workplace injuries.