2008 Major Injuries, Deaths Down Again in UK

The Health and Safety Executive has released 2007-08 fatality, injury, and illness statistics for Great Britain that show continued improvement in major injuries and fatalities. HSE said 28 million work days were lost because of illness and 6 million days because of injury during the year, and 229 people died on the job. Emphasizing the importance of the agency's new asbestos campaign is the 2,056 deaths during 2006 attributed to mesothelioma in the new report.

HSE prosecuted 1,028 cases during the year, and local authorities prosecuted 354 more cases. The overall recordable injury rate was 1,000 per 100,000 employees, and the overall fatality rate was 0.8 per 100,000 workers, the agency said.

Reported major injuries at work have fallen by about 9 percent since the start of the decade. "Any improvement in the number of people being injured or made ill by work must be welcomed," said Judith Hackitt, HSE's chair. "However, there is a need for a step change. Of particular concern are the agriculture, construction, and waste and recycling industries. I am also concerned that slips and trips, which can have an enormous impact on peoples' lives, are still not reducing. HSE is developing a new strategy that seeks to renew commitment from all those involved in health and safety to tackle these challenges and more.

"In the difficult and uncertain months ahead, I urge employers not to take their eyes off the ball. Good business management will be vital, and good health and safety management is an integral part of that. Health and safety contributes positively to competitiveness and should not be sacrificed in times of financial pressure."

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