UK workplace fatalities fall in 2007

The number of people killed at work in the UK fell slightly last year, official figures have revealed.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics showed 228 people lost their lives as a result of accidents/incidents at work in 2007-08, compared to 247 workers in 2006-07.

The report also showed a slight increase in the number of workers killed in the agricultural sector (up from 36 to 39, and a slight decrease in the construction sector (from 77 to 72 in 2007-08).

The rate of decrease in deaths has slowed over the past 15 years, and there has been very little change in the overall rate over the past six years.

HSE chair Judith Hackitt said there was no room for complacency. “No-one can find it acceptable that 228 people died directly as a cause of their work,” she said. “After many years of improvement, it is disappointing that we are on a performance plateau. This stresses the need for everyone, employers and employees alike, to make a further effort to reduce this total of human misery.

“The high levels of fatalities in the agriculture and construction sectors continue to be of particular concern to us, and will be a major focus of the HSE’s work priorities over the coming year.”

Construction union Ucatt said the fatality figures made “grim reading”.

Alan Ritchie, Ucatt general secretary, said: “It is quite clear that the HSE should be taking a far more rigorous approach to inspections, enforcements and prosecutions. The HSE’s lassiez faire attitude and belief in self-regulation has been an abject failure.”

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