At the beginning of July, the HSE released figures which revealed the number of workplace fatalities throughout the UK last year.
The provisional data – which is for the period between April 2011 and March 2012 – shows that 173 workers were fatally injured; a small drop from 175 the previous year, keeping the rate of fatal injury in the workplace at 0.6 per 100,000 workers.
Although the figures have not dramatically decreased year-on-year, the UK still has one of the lowest levels of workplace fatal injuries throughout Europe; and the HSE chair, Judith Hackitt, has said that the organisation is “working very hard to make it easier for people to understand what they need to do and to focus on the real priorities.”
Despite Judith Hackitt claiming the HSE were working very hard on workplace safety, the latest figures have come under some criticism, with the TUC’s General Secretary, Brendan Barber, saying: “During the past two years we have seen a considerable fall in the number of routine safety inspections and, at the same time, both the HSE and local authorities have had their funding cut.
“Yet still we see the Government continuing to attack what they claim is an unnecessary health and safety culture – a view that is unlikely to be shared by the families of the 173 people who died last year as a result of their jobs.”
Mr Barber added: “The responsibility for these deaths may lie with the employers who break safety laws but ministers also have a duty to ensure that the rules are enforced and that the protection of workers is seen not as a ‘burden’ on employers but as a duty.”