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BSC highlights negative UK workplace fatalities trend

31 July 2012

The British Safety Council has expressed serious concern that the reduction in the number of deaths at work has stalled over the last two years. in response to the official 2011/12 worker fatality statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive. 

The number of deaths caused by fatal injury in the last two statistical years – 175 in 2010/11 and 173 in 2011/12 – was a significant increase from the historically low figure of 147 deaths in 2009/10.

Neal Stone, director of policy and communications at the British Safety Council, said, “While the number of deaths in Britain resulting from workplace injury has halved over the last twenty years, it is a serious concern that the reduction in both the number and incidence of deaths has stalled over the last two years. 

”The fatal injuries that occurred in 2011/12 are a tragedy and a stark reminder that the health and safety regulatory framework is a fundamental protection to help keep workers healthy and safe. We must remember those 173 workers and the families and friends they left behind. 
“Nor should we forget the thousands of other people who died in 2011/12 as a result of work-related diseases and work-related road traffic accidents.  We must better understand the causes of these deaths and why they were not prevented.  We owe that to future generations of workers.” 

The statistics record that 33 agricultural workers died as a result of fatal accidents in 2011/12 – with an incident rate sixteen times than that for all industrial sectors. Agriculture, construction with 49 workers killed, manufacturing with 31 workers killed accounted for almost two-thirds of Britain’s workplace fatal injuries that year.
Falls from heights and falls continue to be the two most significant causes of fatal injury in the workplace – accounting for over half of the 173 deaths recorded in 2011/12. 

Scotland and Wales recorded the highest incidence rate by country and region. The fatal injury incidence rate for Wales is almost five times the rate for London and the South East and over twice the national average. The incidence rate for Scotland too, is significantly higher than the national average. 

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