Laura Sharman 02 November 2017

Workplace accidents and poor health costing economy nearly £15bn a year

Work related injuries and ill-health is costing the economy £14.9bn a year, according to the latest figures published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The statistics show that 1.3 million workers suffered work related ill-health in 2016/17, with 609,000 workplace injuries occurring. There were also 137 fatal injuries in workplaces last year.

Martin Temple, chair of the HSE Chair, said: '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.'

Although there were fewer prosecutions taken in 2016/17 for workplace incidents, the figures show an increase in fines to £69.9m from £38.8m in 2015/16.

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) warned the figures show the waste management sector is failing to improve the health and safety standards in the workplace.

Stephen Freeland, ESA’s H&S policy advisor commented: 'For too long now, the waste management industry has continued to lag behind other sectors and with little indication that the overall safety record for the industry as a whole is showing any sign of meaningful improvement.

'For ESA these statistics are rather disappointing and don’t seem to reflect progress we’ve been making in recent years. In fact, our forward thinking approach to health and safety has seen ESA Members reduce injuries by 37% over the two years since 2014.'

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