The managing director of the RTITB, the regulatory body for workplace transport training, has called on certain sectors in the UK to make workplace safety a priority in the months and years ahead.
Laura Nelson urged companies in sectors that have a higher risk of incidents, such as manufacturing, transport and storage, retail, wholesale and food services, to do more to improve workplace safety given Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures showing that 621,000 non-fatal injuries happen in the workplace in Britain annually.
Noting that 4.5 million working days are lost a year because of such injuries, Ms Nelson commented: “Appropriate training alongside correct management and supervision is crucial in helping employers to reduce the risk of incidents, prevent injuries and avoid costs to the business. Regular, robust reviews of workplace systems and processes, as well as conducting audits of a company’s training needs, are vitally important for ensuring safety.”
The HSE stats show that in the food services industry there were 2,560 injuries for 2015-2016, while there were 2,500 in the transport and storage sector, and 2,270 in manufacturing. What’s more, businesses in the last year alone were ordered to pay fines totalling £38.3 million for health and safety breaches. Smaller firms in particular may find these figures a hard pill to swallow, so coming up with appropriate disaster preparedness & response plans for likely scenarios could certainly be a good idea.
For the year 2015-2016, 144 people were killed because of an accident in the workplace. The main kind of fatal accidents were found to be falls from height (26 per cent), being struck by a moving vehicle (19 per cent) and being struck by a moving object (ten per cent), with these three accounting for just over half of all fatalities. This suggests that improving employee training in these areas may prove to be particularly beneficial for businesses in certain industries.
Of the 621,000 workers who suffered a non-fatal injury at work, 200,000 of these led to more than three days absence from work, with 152,000 resulting in more than seven days absence from the workplace. The main kind of non-fatal incidents were found to be injured while handling, lifting or carrying, slipping or tripping and being hit by a moving object. However, the HSE did note in its latest statistical release that there has been a drop in both fatal and non-fatal workplace injuries over the long term.
But regardless of whether there has been a decline or not, illnesses still cost Britain’s economy £9.3 billion annually, while injuries set the country back £4.8 billion, with the combined cost of both injury and illness in the workplace for the year 2014-2015 reaching £14.1 billion.
As such, companies would be wise to do all they can to limit the amount that they contribute to this – and one of the most effective ways of doing so is by training members of staff properly, and making sure you adhere to all health and safety guidelines where appropriate.