Figures published by HSE this month show the annual statistics for work related fatalities in the period between April 2018 and March 2019.
Whilst the figures are provisional (final figures will be published in the Autumn) they do give plenty of food for thought for businesses around the issue of health and safety in the workplace. Particularly given the strength of sentencing guidelines for accidents where there has been a clear breach of health and safety laws.
HSE figures: why health and safety matters
Key findings of the data analysed show that:
• Between April 2018 and March 2019, 147 workers were fatally injured at work. In statistical terms, the number of fatalities has remained broadly level in recent years.
• 95% (139) of all worker fatalities in 2018/19 were male.
• 25% (37) of the fatal injuries were to workers aged 60 or over, even though they made up around 10% of the workforce.
Where are workplace fatalities most common?
Only five different types of accident resulted in around three quarters of the total fatal injuries for 2018/19:
1. Falls from height (40)
2. Struck by a moving vehicle (30)
3. Struck by a moving object (16)
4. Trapped by something collapsing / overturning (11)
5. Contact with moving machinery (14)
What are the risks to businesses for breaking health and safety law?
In the event of a serious injury or fatality in the workplace, an HSE investigation is unavoidable and depending on the findings, brings with it the possibility of prosecution.
The Definitive Guideline for Health and Safety Offences was implemented in 2016. As a result, breaches of health and safety law can see organisations and individuals facing large fines and potentially custodial sentences. This is something we have blogged about numerous times looking at the new guidelines and examples of fines issued under the guidelines.
Risk management and workplace safety
To ensure that your approach to workplace safety would stand up to any regulatory challenge it is important that you put risk management at the heart of your business. The focus must be driven from the boardroom to give it the weight that it deserves. Those responsible for health and safety compliance within your organisation must also have a full understanding of their duties and responsibilities. As well as the regulatory environment within which organisations operate when it comes to health and safety law.
At Anthony Jones risk management advice is a key part of the service that we offer. We work closely with our legal partner, DAC Beachcroft, to help our clients identify health and safety issues within their businesses and help ensure employee safety is given the focus that it requires. If you have any questions about risk management within your own business, do get in touch with us today – we are always happy to help.