TUC concern over rise in deaths at work

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date: 28 June 2011

embargo: For immediate release

Commenting on the latest figures for workplace fatalities released today (Tuesday) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which show 171 people were killed at work last year, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

'While you cannot read too much into one year's figures, everyone will be concerned about this rise in workplace deaths, especially given the steady fall in fatalities we have seen in recent years.

'The responsibility for the increase in deaths this year must be placed at the door of negligent employers, but more needs to be done to ensure that all employers protect their workers from harm.

'The government's recent decision to reduce workplace inspections and the budget cuts for both the HSE and local authorities make it more far less likely that problems will be identified before something goes wrong.

'Traditionally injury rates increase as we come out of a recession. If we are going to stop this year's increase becoming a long-term trend we need more inspections in the workplace - not less.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- The HSE figures are available at www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/fatals.htm

- The report is for April 2010 to March 2011, and confirms that 171 people were killed while at work (provisional figure), which is an increase of 24 on the figure for 2009/2010 (147). Agriculture, waste handling and construction continue to be the most hazardous sectors of occupation. Headline figures are as follows:

The number of workers killed last year in the construction sector (50) has increased when compared with the number in 2009/2010 (41). Fatal injury figures fluctuate from year to year and the rise in construction sector deaths is not out of line with the trend over the previous five years (average 61 fatal injuries per year).

There were nine fatal injuries to waste and recycling workers which is an increase from the four deaths recorded in 2009/10. This is in line with the trend over the previous five years (average 10 fatal injuries per year).

Thirty four workers were killed in the agriculture sector, which is a decrease when compared with 39 in 2009/2010. The number of agriculture sector deaths also remains in line with the trend seen over the previous five years (average 35 fatal injuries per year).

Details of the fatalities as national figures, by sector and by region are contained in the technical note along with figures relating to members of the public who died in work-related circumstances.

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: egibson@tuc.org.uk

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