A safer place for workers

HARTLEPOOL is fast becoming a safer place for employees after a reduction in workplace injuries.

Figures for 2011-2012 show there were no fatalities in the town’s workplaces and the number of major injuries went down from 51 in 2010-2011 to 46 in 2011/2012.

A major injury can be anything from a fracture to amputation, a dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine; loss of sight, a burn, an electric shock, unconsciousness, or work-related acute illness.

But the number of injuries in which staff had to take three or more days off work went up from 115 to 125 over the same timescale.

There was one fatality in County Durham last year compared to two the year before. The number of major injuries there went down from 234 to 191.

And the number of injuries in which staff had to take three or more days off work reduced from 837 to 836.

The Stockton area, including Billingham, had one fatality this year but none 12 months earlier. Its number of major injuries went up from 77 to 83 while the number of injuries in which staff had to take three or more days off work went down from 276 to 255.

Across the North East, five workers lost their lives in the last year and more than 1,000 suffered a major injury.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has asked business to rethink workplace safety provisions in the New Year.

The five deaths and 1,055 major injuries in the North-East last year compare to five deaths and 1,242 major injuries in 2010-11. Another 3,887 North-East workers suffered injuries which required at least three days off work in 2011-12, compared to 4,096 in 2010-11.

High-risk industries include construction, which had 49 deaths last year, agriculture with 33 deaths, manufacturing with 31 deaths and waste and recycling with 5 deaths - making up more than half of all workplace deaths in Great Britain during 2011/12.

David Snowball, HSE’s director for Scotland & Northern England, said: “Each year, instead of enjoying the occasion, families of workers in the North- East who failed to come home from work spend Christmas and the New Year thinking of the loved ones who are not there to enjoy it with them.

“Hundreds of other workers who have had their lives changed by major injury will be experiencing difficulties of their own.

“Health and safety in the workplace needs to be taken seriously. I hope that in 2013 employers will tackle the real rather than the trivial dangers that workers face and not mire themselves in pointless paperwork so we can reduce the number of workplace deaths and major injury.”

Information on tackling health and safety dangers in workplaces is available on HSE’s website at www.hse.gov.uk[1].