Action needed on rise in illness and injury at work, says TUC

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New figures published today (Wednesday) by the Health and Safety Executive on workplace illness and injury rates in 2013/14 paint a worrying picture, says the TUC.

The figures show that the number of people being injured or made ill through work is now rising, bringing to an end the previous long-term downward trend.

New cases of work-related illnesses, and the number of self-reported injuries, have both risen to well above the level in 2010/11.

At the same time enforcement action has fallen, especially in local authority-enforced sectors where illnesses such as back pain and stress are more common.

The number of immediate fatalities, reported earlier in the year, remains low. But there has not been a similar fall in the number of deaths through diseases such as cancers that have been linked to workplace hazards.

TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady said “The rise in illness and injury should be a wake-up call demanding stronger regulation and enforcement for rogue bosses who put their staff at risk.

“Illness or injury caused by work not only leads to absence, it also leaves people suffering pain, disability and financial loss. Yet workplace illness and injury is preventable. The main responsibility lies with employers, but the government has the duty for enforcement to bring rogue bosses back into line.

“The Health and Safety Executive does an excellent job with its resources, but the government’s decision to reduce the number of inspections is allowing more rogue bosses to get away with it. It’s both a human tragedy and a false economy to continue with two million people living with an illness caused by work, and 600,000 new workplace injuries a year.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews

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