Employers told to tackle ‘real’ dangers in the workplace

EMPLOYERS have been urged to tackle the real dangers that workers face, rather than concentrating on ‘trivial risks or pointless paperwork.’

Latest official figures reveal that six people lost their lives at work in South Yorkshire last year and more than 625 suffered a major injury.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a fresh warning about workplace safety after the number of deaths rose across Great Britain in 2010/11.

It is urging employers to make the safety of workers their top priority for 2012, and is reminding them of their legal responsibility to ensure lives are not put at risk.

A total of 171 people were killed at work in Great Britain last year, compared to 147 deaths during 2009/10. More than 24,700 workers also suffered a major injury in 2010/11.

The six deaths - four in Sheffield and two in Rotherham - and 625 major injuries in South Yorkshire compare with six deaths and 641 major injuries in 2009/10. Another 2,204 workers suffered an injury or ill health which required them to take at least three days off work in 2010/11, 100 fewer than the previous year.

In Yorkshire & the Humber as a whole, there were 24 deaths and 2,609 major injuries compared with 23 deaths and 2,741 major injuries in 2009/10. Another 8,854 workers suffered an injury or ill health which required them to take at least three days off work in 2010/11, compared with 9,309 the previous year.

The latest provisional figures show that, on average, six in every million workers were killed while at work between April 2010 and March 2011.

High-risk industries include construction, which had 50 deaths last year, agriculture with 34 deaths, and waste and recycling with nine deaths, making up more than half of all workplace deaths in Great Britain during 2010/11.

Paul Spurrier, Head of Operations for HSE in Yorkshire & the Humber, said: “The families of the 24 workers in our region who lost their lives last year had to face Christmas and a New Year without them. While there was a welcome fall in the number of major and other injuries in Yorkshire and Humber, there were still hundreds of workers who have had their lives changed forever by a major injury.

“These statistics highlight why we need good health and safety in British workplaces. Employers should spend their time tackling the real dangers that workers face rather than worrying about trivial risks or pointless paperwork.

“It’s important to remember that we still have one of the lowest rates of workplace deaths in Europe, but one death is still one too many..”