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Feature: How safe are your staff?

Last month the Health and Safety Commission published the latest statistics on workplace injury and work-
related ill health in the UK. Health and Safety Statistics 2004/05 includes reports on progress against the
targets set in the Revitalising Health and Safety Strategy, and reveals a number of reductions on last year.

The main features of the statistics show that there were around 220 fatal injuries to workers in 2004/05, a decrease of 7% on the 2003/04 figure of 236. Around half of these occurred in two industries; construction (71) and agriculture, forestry and fishing (42).

Another decline was in the area of major injuries to employees with 30,213 incidents reported in 2004/05, a rate of 117.7 per 100,000. This was down 2% on the previous year. More than one-third were caused by
slipping and tripping. There were 120,346 other injuries to employees causing them to be off work for more than three days, down 8% on 2003/04. Two-thirds of these were caused by handling, lifting or carrying.

The rate of reportable injury estimated from the
Labour Force Survey was 1,330 per 100,000 workers in 2003/04 (three-year average), down by 7% on the previous year. Comparing this with the rate of reported major and over-three-day injury, the level of reporting by employers was 47.6%, up from 43% in 2002/03.

The spotlight has been thrown on the waste management and recycling industry’s poor accident record — it has overtaken mining as the industry where employees are most likely to sustain a major injury. But a concerted effort has been made to reverse the trend.

Organisations such as the Confederation of Paper Industries, the Environmental Services Association and the British Metals Recycling Association have all faced the issue head-on and implemented measures to tackle the problem.

At this year’s National Recycling Awards, a new category, Best Commitment to Health and Safety Practices, was launched to recognise and reward those working hard to improve the situation. The winner, the Verdant Group, demonstrated how this subject has been driven to the top of the company’s agenda.

A clear example has been set but there is still a
long way to go, and continued commitment is needed for industry-wide change.


AutoDrain is offering organisations in the end-of-life vehicles sector the opportunity to provide their staff with nationally recognised qualifications in health and safety. The level 1 Certificate in Health and Safety at work is a nationally recognised qualification which provides employees with a basic knowledge of heath and safety in the authorised treatment facility.



Many businesses often do not recognise slips as a major safety concern but, according to the Health and Safety Executive, they are the most common cause of injury in the workplace.

The new Construction (Design and Management) Regulations will require designers to create surfaces for in-use conditions, so they will need to formally assess the risks of slipping to ensure that

floors are safe. Guidance from the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) — Safer surfaces to walk on: reducing the risks of slips — explains how this c

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