Accidents and consequences With an increase in the number of recorded workplace fatalities, LRB Consulting Limited looks at the some of the commonest causes of workplace fatalities and considers what organisations need to do in order to help them to prevent these incidents and to protect their employees and their businesses. 241 Workers killed at work for the period 2006/2007 and many other injured HSE Statistics for the period 2006/2007 show that 241 workers who were killed at work. This is a fatality rate of 0.8 per 100,000 workers. This figure is an increase on the average number of workplace fatalities for the previous five years of 231. On top of this, there were 141,350 other injuries to employees that were reported under RIDDOR (which is an accident rate of 535.1 per 100,000 employees). According to the Labour Force Survey, there were 274 000 reportable, which a higher accident rate of 1,000 per 100,000 workers. In addition to the accidents at work, there are about 2.2 million people who are suffering from an illness that they believed was caused, or made worse, by their current or past work and 646 000 of these were new cases in the last 12 months. As a result of these workplace accidents and ill health, about 36 million days are being lost each and every year, which is equivalent to about one and a half days a year for each worker. About 30 million work days are lost annually due to work-related ill health and a further 6 million due to workplace injury. The commonest types of fatal accidents at work If we remove road traffic accidents from the equation, more people are killed at work each year as a result of falls from a height. Nearly 19% of the work related deaths (45 of the 241) for the period 2006/2007 were due to falls from a height. In the previous year, this figure was 22%, with 48 of the 217 workplace deaths arising from falls from a height. The common causes of workplace fatal injuries are: Type of accident Number in 2006 – 2007 Percentage of workplace fatal injuries for 2006 - 2007 Falls from height 45 18.7% Struck by moving or falling 40 16.7% objects Struck by moving machinery 30 12.4% Trapped by something 19 7.9% collapsing or overturning Contact with electricity 18 7.5% Drowning or asphyxiation 16 6.6% Contact with moving 13 5.4% machinery Actions that Organisation can undertake to help prevent accidents and to protect their businesses In simple terms: organisations can protect our employees and others against accidents by what we do and protect our business (from prosecution) by what we can show. As employers, you should protect people from harm by: ensuring that your policies, procedures, risk assessments, training, etc, deals with the hazards that may exist in your workplace or derive from your undertakings reviewing your Health and Safety Policy to ensure that is relates to your business and your operations review your existing Risk Assessments and ensure that they relate to your business and to your undertakings do your risk assessments identify: all appropriate tasks and operations all hazards arising from your undertakings the persons at risk the existing measures to control hazards any further measures required to control hazards timescales for implementation of new/additional control measures who is responsible for implementing the new/additional control measures undertaking meaningful active monitoring of your control measures go and check that you what you say you do (are control measures identified in the risk assessments really being used) check that control measures are effective – do they control the hazards effectively or do they need to be updated and improved? In order to protect your business, you should ensure that the policy and risk assessment documentation is accurate and is up to date. You should ensure that appropriate checklists are being used and are completed properly and regularly (such as daily fork lift truck checklists, machinery guarding and safety device checks, etc.). In the event of accidents, incidents and near misses, suitable investigations should be carried out (and recorded) and, where appropriate, suitable corrective actions should be identified, actioned and completion of the actions recorded (ideally back on the accident investigation paperwork).