Workplace fatalities fall by 85%

29 Jul 2014

The number of workplace deaths has fallen by 85% since the introduction of health and safety laws 40 years ago, new figures show.

In 1974, more than 650 people lost their lives at work, but this has dropped to a record low of 133 today, according to the Health and Safety Executive. The number of injuries has fallen by 77%, from 336,701 to 78,222.

The Health and Safety at Work Act led to the formation of regulatory body the Health and Safety Commission, which later became the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). This has helped firms to manage risk effectively and bring irresponsible employers to justice.

Mark Harper, Minister of State for Health and Safety, says Britain has taken great strides in protecting its workforce and its safety record is now "the envy of the world".

He acknowledges that there is still work to be done to bring down the figures even further, but says the reduction in fatalities and injuries over the past 40 years is a "significant step forward", with Britain now one of the safest places in the world to work.

Judith Hackitt, chair of the HSE, also praises the high standards set by the country's health and safety laws, not least because they place responsibility on employers who create risk to manage that risk.

She says that regardless of whether people are farming, fracking for shale gas or working with nano-materials in a hi-tech laboratory, the UK's regulatory system is "world class".

Copyright Press Association 2014

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