HSE recently published injury and enforcement statistics for the food and drink manufacturing industry which revealed a reduction in ‘over-3-day absence’ injuries but a rise in ‘major injuries’ against 2008/2009 fi gures.

The over-3-day absence fi gure reduced from 1197 in 2008/2009 to 1165 in 2009/2010 (or -2.7%) whereas major injuries increased from 224 in 2008/2009 to 238 in 2009/2010 (or +6%). Despite the increase in major injuries, HSE stated that fatal injuries have more than halved during the last 20 years and that the long-term trend shows a 31% reduction in the major injury rate since 1996.

In the ten year period from April 2000 to March 2010 there were 44 fatal accidents in the food and drink manufacturing industry. Machinery, workplace transport and falls accounted for more than 60% of that fi gure.

According to HSE’s statistics by industry, food and drink manufacturing still remains a relatively high-risk industry and suffers an injury rate 1.8 times higher than the UK manufacturing average. Injuries are mostly caused by manual handling and slips or trips. 2008/2009 fi gures show that dairy, animal product and meat production account for a disproportionately large number of reported injuries.

HSE credit the overall continuing downward trend in injury rates to the joint HSE/food industry ‘Recipe for Safety’ Initiative which was set up in 1990.