Workplace safety at a turbulent time for the UK
Our workplace injuries expert, Kevin Digby, reviews the government statistics for workplace safety at a turbulent time for the UK.
At present any worker injured at work cannot simply say ‘I have been injured at work and my employer should pay me compensation as they breached health and safety regulations’. This is because section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 amended Section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and changed how workers could sue their employers if they were injured at work. Previously the worker could rely on the breach of the regulations but now cannot and must show the employer must be shown to have been negligent.
According to the latest reports from the Health and Safety Executive, the number of fatal accidents at work remains broadly level from 2008 onwards after an increase to 147 work related deaths in 2018/2019. The most risky industries are fishing, construction, agriculture, forestry and waste and recycling all of which are key industries in the South West with busy working ports across Devon and Cornwall and waste and recycling being key to society and the environment.
These do not include the 14,526 estimated lung disease deaths each year caused by exposure to chemicals and substances at work.
Work related ill health has increased from the lowest recorded in 2011/2012 to remain relatively static to 2018/2019 with 497,000 workers suffering from a new case of work related ill health and 69,208 non-fatal work injuries reported by employers for injuries resulting in specific injuries or more than 7 days off work. These cover things such as new lung and skin diseases to fractures of bones and serious soft tissue injuries or burns resulting in an estimated 4.7 million days off work that costs the economy of £9.8 billion! The figures make grim reading as, according to the Labour Force Survey that asked the workforce directly how many injuries had been suffered, there were 581,000 injuries sustained by workers, many of which would not have been reported in accordance with RIDDOR. This is still an incredible amount of injuries to be having in the workforce and it seems no coincidence that the downward trend in injuries at work stopped when the law was changed to stop workers relying on breaches of health and safety regulations to show their employer was at fault.
The old ‘elf and safety’ joke has become tired. Workers health and safety at work is an incredibly important issue to make sure you can go to work and come home safe at the end of the day, especially in dangerous employment sectors that we have in the southwest in maritime, fishing, construction, forestry, agriculture, waste and recycling.
So, the statistics show that workplace injuries remain common place in the UK and the issue will not be going away any time soon.
If you have been affected by a work place injury or have developed a workplace disease or been involved in an accident at work, speak to our expert, Kevin Digby, today to see if you could recover compensation on 01752 242131 or email kevin.digby@GAsolicitors.com