Work-related staff absenteeism hits highest in four years

In the past 12 months UK employers lost more hours to work-related employee ill-health and injuries than at any time in the past four years.

Results from the Health and Safety Executive’s 2006-07 Labour Force Survey show an annual loss of 1.5 days from ill health and injury caused by work. This is the highest number since 2003-04, with similar statistics for self-reported illness caused or made worse by work.

One in every 100 workers, a total of 274,000, experienced a non-fatal reportable injury, with the highest rates occurring in construction, manufacturing and transport.

More than one million workers were found to be suffering from an illness they believe was caused or made worse by their current or past work, with the highest prevalence rates in health and social work, public administration and defence, and construction.

Separate figures from health insurance firm Norwich Union, meanwhile, suggested that almost a quarter of all workplace transport incidents involve forklift trucks.

Of the 21,190 injuries involving forklift trucks reported between 2001-06, 94 were fatal and 15,338 resulted in people being absent from work for three or more days, added Norwich Union. The insurance group runs a one-day Workplace Transport course on ensuring vehicle movements in the workplace are carried out safely.

Norwich Union liability risk manager Phil Grace said: “Forklift trucks are particularly dangerous in the workplace, with the most common types of accidents involving workers being struck or run over by a vehicle, or being hit by something falling from the vehicle.

“Other accidents can involve individuals falling from vehicles or the vehicles overturning. These types of incidents are most commonly caused by workers operating the vehicle incorrectly, or by failure to follow training,” he added.


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