Warning over death toll rise at work

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HEALTH and safety officials issued a New Year warning last night after releasing new figures which reveal the toll of workplace injuries and deaths in Yorkshire.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said newly-compiled statistics showed that between April 2010 and March 2011, 24 people died at work while 2,609 were seriously injured.

In the previous year, 23 people were killed in workplace incidents in the region, while 2,741 suffered a major injury.

The figures also show that in 2010/11 8,854 workers suffered an injury or ill health which led to them taking at least three days off work, compared with 9,309 in the previous 12 months.

Nationally, the number of deaths at work jumped from 147 to 171, with the number of workers seriously injured hitting a total of 24,700.

Paul Spurrier, the HSE’s head of operations in Yorkshire said: “The families of the 24 workers in our region who lost their lives last year had to face Christmas and a New Year without them.

“While there was a welcome fall in the number of major and other injuries in Yorkshire and Humber, there were still hundreds of workers who have had their lives changed forever by a major injury.

“These statistics highlight why we need good health and safety in British workplaces. Employers should spend their time tackling the real dangers that workers face rather than worrying about trivial risks or pointless paperwork.

“It’s important to remember that we still have one of the lowest rates of workplace deaths in Europe, but one death is still one too many. I’d urge businesses to help cut the number of deaths in 2012.”

According to the HSE, people working in the construction industry run the greatest risk of death at work, with 50 people being killed across the country.

Agriculture is the second most high-risk injury, accounting for 34 deaths, while the waste and recycling industry is also dangerous, claiming nine workers in 2010/11.