The Health and Safety Executive (the "HSE") is responsible for enforcing health and safety law in Scotland, England and Wales. The HSE publishes annual statistics in relation to health and safety in the workplace and the latest statistics which relate to 2011/2012 are now available.
The following key statistics have been reported:-
- 173 workers were killed at work;
- 111,164 (non fatal) injuries were reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations;
- 1.1 million people were suffering from a work-related illness;
- 27 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury; and
- Workplace injuries and ill health (excluding cancer) cost society an estimated £13.4 billion in 2010/11.
The number of fatalities at work has reduced slightly from 175 in 2010/2011 but is still higher than in 2009/2010 when there were 147 deaths at work. Of those 111,164 non-fatal work-related injuries, 22,433 were major injuries (with the majority being caused by slips or trips) and 88,731 were over three-day injuries. Overall the number of major and over three-day injuries being reported has decreased.
The statistics reveal that there were 221,000 new cases of work-related stress, with the rates being higher for women than men; and with the highest rates in public administration, health and social care and education, and also in managerial and professional occupations. The majority of the 27 million working days lost were due to stress, anxiety or depression. However, overall the number of working days lost due to work-related illness or workplace injury has decreased over the last decade, from 39.8 million in 2000-2002.
In Scotland the Procurator Fiscal heard 34 cases for breach of health and safety law (a drop of 11% from the previous year) and 32 of these led to convictions.
The full report and also an overview can be accessed here.
In particular the statistics relating to fatalities and injuries make for sobering reading and these statistics are a very stark reminder of the importance of health & safety compliance.