Latets RIDDOR Fatality Statistics 2017-2108
The HSE have published the latest 2017-2018 statistics for workplace deaths in the UK.
The full report can be reviewed at http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/fatals.htm.
Although no one will disagree any avoidable death is one too many, there is some good news and much to be learnt from the report.
Last year the number of people killed at work increased by 9 to 144 fatalities over 2016-17. All the effort that goes into promoting health and safety in the UK workplace is worthwhile because the report confirms we have one of the lowest death rates in Europe at 0.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers, which is seven times lower than France.
Making it personal
We may pour over the annual statistics and comment on the trends, but it should never be forgotten that every one of these avoidable deaths represents a personal tragedy for the immediate families involved.
Last year, hundreds of thousands of construction workers left for work as normal, with no reason to doubt they would return to their family in time for supper later that same day. For 38 construction workers ... going home didn't happen.
Just stop for a moment and really think through the ramifications of what would happen to your family in the event of your death at work today.
It is not only about the immediate emotional shock and distress your family will have to cope with over your loss. The normal grieving process will be prolonged as the circumstances of your death are dragged through the Coroners Court and then again as your case comes before a judge to determine the culpability of your employers. The legal process can take up to two years to complete.
Then of course, there will be all the immediate, short and long term practical and financial ramifications a grieving family will have to deal with. You may be lucky and have a close and supportive network of friends and family who will rally round to support your loved ones. Not everyone is so lucky.
So, as morose as these opening remarks may be, they should give you good reason to take the idea of self-preservation more seriously the next time your employer mentions health and safety in the work place.
Complying with safe-working practices is costly and often wasteful in both time and materials. It is intrusive and dictatorial. It does hinder the way you work and creates a mountain of tedious paperwork to complete. When all is said and done, however, it is only there to make sure you do not become one of the fatality statistics next year.
One thing is statistically certain. Another 144-odd individuals, just like you, will fall victim to our collective stupidity of not making sure our work places are as safe as they should be in 2018-19.
Slips and trips killed 4 workers last year
Same old mantra? Haven't convinced you yet? Well ... how many times have you taken umbridge at being told to keep your workplace clean and tidy and probably gone out of your way to do the opposite?
We mention it because 4 families lost their loved ones last year to the most mindless of mistakes one can make on a construction site ... not keeping up with basic house-keeping and allowing 4 people to suffer a fatal slip and fall on level ground.
Most of us can get our heads around why 35 people died last year from accidents involving working at height. Some accidents only happen because several very minor oversights come together to result in a more serious situation that precipitates the fatal event.
Four people losing their lives last year because another worker could not be bothered to tidy up after them is hard to accept or forgive under any circumstances.
It is worth remembering every piece of legislation and every initiative launched by the HSE is only in play because someone, somewhere has suffered a life-changing injury or has been killed through a lack of compliance with the safe-working practices recommended.
The problem is the success of the health and safety campaigning over the last three decades has become a rod for its own back.
Most seasoned construction workers know through their own experience to date, one may suffer a series of minor injuries but the chances of being killed on site is to remote a possibility to be taken seriously.
It therefore surprising to read in the report that the mortality rates of construction workers increase with age, with the largest band being in the over-60’s. One might expect it would be the younger workers with their lack of experience that suffer the highest mortality rate.
It is easy to conclude that complacency and over-confidence about avoiding the hazards and risks that exist on construction sites may go some way to explain why the older you get, the more likely you are to take one too many shortcuts and end up killing yourself at work.
The latest HSE fatalities report confirms that all the effort that goes into making people safe at work is working.
If you ever feel that health and safety is a waste of your time, imagine what any of the 144 families who lost their loved one last year would tell you.