Bosses urged to make health and safety resolution - Palmers Solicitors

Bosses urged to make health and safety resolution

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has marked its 40th anniversary with an appeal to UK businesses to make the wellbeing of workers their top priority for the new financial year.

The call on 14 January came as new figures showed that across Great Britain, there were 133 deaths at work in 2013-14, more than 79,500 injuries were formally reported and more than 1.1 million people were estimated to have suffered work-related illness.

In the East of England, 11 people lost their lives at work in 2013-14 and 8,120 suffered injury. Across the region, some 125,100 people were estimated to have been made ill through their work in 2013-14.

In the Thurrock Council area, there were no deaths, but there were 265 injuries – the highest total among Essex local authorities – and an estimated 2,700 cases of work-related illness. Basildon, Brentwood and Colchester each recorded one workplace death during 2013-14 and Colchester also had the highest estimated number of work-related illness, at 3,300 cases.

The HSE was formally established in January 1975 to enforce the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. In 1974-75, 651 employees died at work.

The latest figures show that those involved in construction, manufacturing, waste and recycling and agriculture are at the highest health risk. Areas of concern include falls from height, poorly maintained and guarded machinery and inadequate workplace transport management.

Tim Galloway, HSE regional director for the South and East of England said: “The figures offer encouragement that we are continuing to head in the right direction, but they also show that we can still go further and challenge the industries where there is room to do more. As employers plan and prepare for the new financial year they need to ensure that health, safety and welfare is a clear focus.”

Failure to comply with health and safety responsibilities can have far-reaching and costly consequences. Alongside the expense and reputational damage caused by an HSE prosecution, businesses in breach of health and safety laws will also be required to pay for the HSE’s time and effort in investigating the matter, helping the business to put it right and taking enforcement action.

Palmers can provide comprehensive advice to businesses on all aspects of health and safety, including those relating to risk assessment and health and safety audits. For clarification or guidance on health and safety responsibilities, or in the event of an HSE investigation or facing prosecution, please contact our health and safety specialists Lara Murray and Jeremy Sirrell.