The number of enforcement notices issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) against companies flouting health and safety laws rose by one-fifth last year. New figures have revealed the state of workplace-related ill health in the UK.
Statistics from the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) concluded that more than 140,000 workplace accidents were reported last year, resulting in employees suffering injuries such as amputations, chemical burns and fractures.
Some 2.2 million people were suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past employment, with 646,000 new cases in the past 12 months.
Two hundred and forty-one employees were killed at work, a rate of 0.8 per 100,000 workers, and 36 million days were lost overall (which equates to 1.5 days per worker) – 30 million of these because of work-related ill health, and six million because of workplace injury. More than 2,000 died of mesothelioma in 2005 (the latest data) and thousands more died from other occupational cancers and lung diseases.
Geoffrey Podger, Health and Safety Executive chief executive, said: “Last year, the HSE issued 20% more notices and industry was fined more than £13m for flouting health and safety laws.”
New Health and Safety Commission chair Judith Hackitt said: “The rising enforcement figures show that negligence in workplace health and safety is not tolerated.