Health and Safety Update: April 2019Untitled-1

HSE 2018 statistics show continued rise in work-related mental health absences

The HSE has published its annual health and safety at work summary statistics for Great Britain 2018.

Ill health

As has been the trend for the past few years, the total number of work-related ill health cases remains largely the same in 2017/2018 as the previous year, with the rate per 100,000 workers of work-related ill health cases remaining largely flat since 2013/14, having been steadily declining from a peak in 2007/08.

2017-2018  has shown a further rise in the proportion of those cases (44% compared with 40% in 2016/17) which are related to mental health (stress, depression or anxiety), and a corresponding fall (35% vs 39% in 2016/17) in the proportion of musculoskeletal disorders.

A total of 26.8 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health in 2017/18. 15.4 million of those were due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety, compared with 12.5m in the previous year.

Workplace fatalities & injury

The number of fatalities at work rose from 137 in 2016/17 to 144 this year, but the number of estimated non-fatal injuries to workers fell from 609,000 to 555,000 in 2017/18. The number of working days estimated to have been lost due to workplace injury is 3.9m in 2017/18, down significantly from 5.5m in 2016/17 and 4.5m the previous year.

The rate of self-reported non-fatal injuries per 100,000 workers has been following a long-term downward trend, and this continues in 2017/18.

Industries

The top five industries affected by work-related ill health in 2017/18 remain : Health & Social Work; Agriculture; Public Administration / Defence; Education and Utility supply.  The industries most severely affected by workplace injury are: Agriculture; Construction; Public Administration / Defence and Manufacturing.

Comparison with Europe

Compared with the rest of Europe, the UK consistently has one of the lowest standardised rates of fatal injury, lower than other large economies and the EU average.  UK rates of lost working days due to work-related ill health were lower than most other EU countries.

£72m fines from prosecutions

The number of prosecutions in the period fell from 554 in 2016/17 to 493 in 2016/17. Following the steep rise seen in the previous year with the introduction of the new Sentencing Guideline, fines from prosecutions rose slightly to £72.6m from £69.9m.

For the full report please go to http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/

Fees for intervention increase by 20%

Image result for hse logoFrom 6 April 2019, the HSE FFI hourly rate has increased from £129 to £154. Fees for intervention (FFI) were introduced in 2012, as a way to recover the costs of investigating and enforcing material breaches of health and safety law.  Despite the scheme generating £15m in 2017/18, the HSE reported a £1.9m loss.

The new rate means that businesses found to be breaching health and safety law will now be subject to 20% higher investigation and enforcement costs.

£160k fine for insecure construction site

A 12-year old boy sustained life changing injuries after falling 10m from a scaffold in Cwmbran. He and a friend had been able to gain access to the site which was in a residential area, near to a school. The ladder guard did not adequately cover the rungs of the ladder so the boys were able to climb to the top platform of the scaffold and up the uppermost ladder, which slipped and caused the fall.

The HSE found that the the security arrangements were inadequate and the construction company which had erected the scaffold was fined £160,000 plus £22,000 in costs.

How does Brexit affect your HS duties?

The duties of employers to protect the health and safety of employees and other people will not change when the UK leaves the EU. Some minor amendments to regulations to remove EU references have been made but all legal requirements will remain unchanged.

According to the HSE, "[its] approach to regulation is to preserve the UK's high standards in health and safety and to continue to protect people and the environment."