Warning against complacency as work deaths dip

The
number of workers killed in accidents at work has dropped by 10 per cent over
the past 12 months, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

New
figures show the number of people fatally injured while at work has fallen from
251 in 2001-02 to 226 in 2002-03. The actual rate of fatal injuries also fell,
by around 10 per cent to 0.79 per hundred thousand, compared to 0.88 in
2001-02.

However,
figures still remain at similar levels to those three years ago, after a
massive 30 per cent increase in deaths at work in 2000-01 and a steady decline
in the following three years.

Falls
from height, being struck by a moving vehicle and getting hit by falling
objects continue to be the most common kinds of accidents, accounting for 53
per cent of fatal injuries at work.

Bill
Callaghan, chair of the Health and Safety Commission, welcomed the figures but
warned against complacency. "The statistics give us some grounds for
optimism. It is encouraging but 226 deaths also represents continuing failure.
Worker fatalities are a blemish on a civilised society," he said.

Most
sectors managed to reduce the number of deaths, with the exception of the
service industry where 75 workers were killed, compared to 70 in the last set
of figures.

The
service industry has the worst statistical record followed by construction with
71 deaths, manufacturing with 41 and agriculture with 36 fatalities.

www.hse.gov.uk

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