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FINES RISE RAPIDLY ALONGSIDE HARM TO HEALTH

hselogo1HSE confirm lowest number of construction fatalities on record

The latest annual injury and ill health statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show 1.3 million workers were suffering from work related ill-health and there were 609,000 workplace injuries in 2016/17.

HSE believe the published figures show that Britain “remains one of the safest places to work” whilst there is still “work to do to drive figures down”.

Workplace injury and new cases of ill health cost Britain £14.9bn a year with 31.2 million working days lost.

Martin Temple, HSE Chair, said of the findings:

“These latest figures should act as a spur to reduce the impact of ill-health and injury on Britain’s workforce and businesses and we cannot rest on our reputation. We will only achieve long term improvement by a collective approach to improve workplace standards. Poor standards lead to poor health and increased injuries which is bad for the workforce and business.”

Fines imposed by courts show massive increase

Top line statistics show that in 2016/17 there were;

  • Deaths – 137 fatal injuries in Britain’s workplaces
  • Injuries – 70,116 other injuries reported by employers
  • Disease – 12,000 lung disease deaths estimated to be linked to past work exposures
  • Fines – 554 cases prosecuted with fines from convictions totalling £69.9 million

Fewer prosecutions were taken in 2016/17 but there was an increase in total fines to £69.9 million from the 2015/16 total of £38.8 million reflecting the new sentencing guidelines in England and Wales introduced in 2016. Twenty large fines accounted for £30.7 million of the new figure. Fines imposed by the courts in criminal cases are paid to HM Treasury.

Construction – fine average up by 58%

The figures for 2016/17 show a total of 3,145 enforcement notices issued by HSE inspectors in Construction representing some 60% of all prohibition notices issued by HSE and slightly more than the 3,053 notices issued in 2015/16.

There were 219 construction prosecution cases in 2016/17, resulting in: 206 (94%) with a conviction for at least one offence and resulting in almost £16 million in total fines averaging over £77,000 per conviction.

By contrast in 2015/16 there were 265 cases resulting in: 246 convictions (93%); almost £8 million total fines; and average fines of £32,000.

Construction – fatalities lowest ever

There were 30 fatal injuries to workers in the Construction sector in 2016/17 which is around 30% lower than the five-year average for 2011/12-2015/16 (43) and the lowest number on record. This brings the total number of fatal injuries to workers in the sector over the last five years to 196.

Almost half of the fatal injury cases were caused by fall from a height. There were also four fatalities to members of the public involving construction work in 2016/17.

The number and rate of fatal injuries can vary by quite a lot from year to year but HSE report that:

  • Trend – the overall the long-term trend for both is downward;
  • Rate – the rate of change is getting slower as the number of fatalities falls; and
  • Progress – the rate of fatal injury is now less than a quarter of what it was in 2000/01 and a fifth of that in 1990/91.

The worker fatal injury rate in construction (1.37 per 100,000 workers). This is over 3 times the average rate across all industries (0.43 per 100,000 workers).

Construction – continuing harm to health

The HSE statistical report states that between 2014/15 and 2016/17 health risks in construction resulted in the following outcomes:

  • Ill-health – each year around 80,000 construction workers in GB suffer from an illness they believe was caused or made worse by their work; and
  • New conditions – around 40% of these cases were new conditions, which started during the year, while the remainder were long-standing conditions.

Of these 80,000 cases:

  • MSD – 52,000 were cases of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), of which just under a third were new conditions;
  • Stress – 12,000 were cases of stress, depression or anxiety, of which around 60% were new conditions; and
  • Lungs and skin – 16,000 were cases of other illness (such as skin or respiratory conditions).

 

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