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What your business needs to know about the HSE’s annual workplace fatality figures

Blogs | 28th Aug 2019

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently released its annual figures for fatal workplace injuries for 2018/2019, showing that 147 workers were fatally injured between April 2018 and March 2019.

While the 2018/2019 figures showed an increase of six workplace fatalities from the previous year, since 1981 there has been an overall long-term decrease in work-related fatal injuries. However, employers should not get complacent!

Even if your business does not fall into one of the sectors where employees are most at risk of a fatal injury, these figures show that there is still room for improvement when it comes to workplace accidents. Employers can still do more when it comes to having the right workplace transport training, supervision and safe systems of work – all of which can help to reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring in the workplace.

Moving vehicle related incidents

Those employers in transport and logistics might be particularly interested to learn that one of the top three causes of fatal injuries continues to be ‘being struck by a moving vehicle’. This includes incidents involving lift trucks and plant or warehouse equipment.

Don’t think you’re at risk? Neither did these businesses:

West Midlands company fined after worker killed by forklift truck
Tadcaster company fined after worker struck by telehandler load
Scaffolder crushed by forklift truck
Pallet company fined after fork lift truck accident

Incidents of this nature not only have a devastating human cost, but also leave employers with significant fines that can massively impact their business.

The correct training and competent supervision are among the best ways to manage the human factors that affect the likelihood of these types of incident on order to reduce risk and improve safety in lift truck operations.

Incidents involving older workers

The report also highlights that older workers are particularly at risk – a quarter of fatal injuries in the report affected workers aged 60 or over, even though this group of workers makes up only 10% of the total workforce. This could be as a result of the complacency that often creeps in over years in the same job, and the ever-reducing perception of risk that occurs naturally over time.

Refresher training alongside quality management and supervision on site can effectively correct these issues and behaviours, and are therefore critical factors for reducing workplace injuries for this age group.

Here are three other simple ways that you can reduce the chances of your business being included in these statistics:

1. Adopt safe systems of work – This is vital for ensuring that pedestrians and other workers are protected from the risk of moving vehicles. A safe system of work is about far more than just having some documented processes in place – it also demands the right behaviours and attitudes within the workforce. Read more about why your business needs safe systems of work and how these can be implemented.

2. Deliver accredited training – High quality training and assessment can help ensure that operators drive safely and efficiently, which can help reduce incidents. This can, in turn, reduce downtime, damage and stock loss as well as reducing the serious accidents which could led to an investigation by the HSE.

3. Invest one day in a HealthCheck – The RTITB Workplace Transport Operations HealthCheck service can look at where there may be issues in your workplace operations that are causing incidents, or creating situations which may lead to accidents in future. Usually completed in just one day, our qualified auditors and training specialists will then provide guidance on improvements that can be made to help improve safety and compliance. Learn more about the RTITB HealthCheck.

Contact our Solutions team for more information on how RTITB can help you improve safety and safe lives within your workplace. Email solutions@rtitb.co.uk or call +44(0)1952 520207.

Visit the HSE website for more information on the latest workplace fatality statistics. A more in depth report is due to be released in October 2019.