Toxic, Corrosive and Hazardous – the Government’s record on health and safety
Download The Government record on H&S [PDF]
The scale of the problem
The government has claimed that Britain is one of the safest places to work in the world. In fact, workplaces can be dangerous, but this danger is often downplayed by the selective use of statistics. The figure that is often given as an indicator of how safe Britain’s workplaces are is the number of workplace fatalities that occur as a result of an injury at work. This is published by the HSE every year and in 2012/13 that number was 148 – one of the lowest ever.
That, however, is far less than even one per cent of the number of people whose lives have been cut short as a result of their work.
If you include those who die from occupational cancers, other lung disorders and cardiovascular disease caused by work and people killed on the roads while working, at least 20,000 people die prematurely every year because of occupational injury or disease, but the real figure could be even higher.
The death toll that work takes is only a part of the picture. Last year, 175,000 workers received an injury that meant they had to take at least seven days off work. Worryingly this figure seems to have been increasing since the election.
This is the number of cases where there was an actual injury in the workplace that led to at least seven days off work. It does not include injuries that develop over time or diseases that people get as a result of their work. The HSE estimates that in total, 1.8 million people are suffering from an illness that was caused or made worse by work.