Health and Safety Update: November 2017Untitled-1

HSE 2017 statistics show rise in work-related mental health absences

The HSE has published its annual health and safety at work summary statistics for Great Britain 2017.

Ill health

The total number of work-related ill health cases remains largely the same in 2016/2017 as the previous year (1.3m), 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.

However, this year has shown a rise in the proportion of those cases (40% compared with 37% in 2015/16) which are related to mental health (stress, depression or anxiety), and a corresponding fall (39% vs 41% in 2015/16) in the proportion of musculoskeletal disorders.

12.5m working days were lost in 2016/17 due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety; 8.9m due to musculoskeletal disorders.

Workplace fatalities & injury

The number of fatalities at work dropped from 144 in 2015/16 to 137 this year, and the number of estimated non-fatal injuries to workers fell from 621,000 to 609,000 in 2016/17. However, the number of working days estimated to have been lost due to workplace injury is 5.5m in 2016/17, up significantly from 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 2016/17.

Costs to Great Britain

Costs to Britain of workplace injury and ill-health has risen from £14.1bn in 2015/16 to £14.9bn in 2016/17, though the proportions of this allocated to injury (c. 35%) and ill health (c. 65%) remain consistent.


The top four industries affected by work-related ill health in 2016/17 are: Health & Social Work; Agriculture; Public Administration / Defence; and Education. The industries most severely affected by workplace injury are: Agriculture; Construction; Transport & Storage; and Accommodation & Food Services.

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.

83% rise in fines from prosecutions

The number of prosecutions in the period fell from 660 in 2015/16 to 554 in 2016/17. However, this was the first full year since the new Sentencing Guideline was introduced: this resulted in a 83% rise in total fines from prosecutions from £38.3 in 2015/16 to £69.9m in 2016/17.

For the full report please go to

£10,000 fine for failure to control Legionnella risk

An engineering firm in the West Midlands was subject to an HSE investigation which found that the company had no controls in place for legionella bacteria risk management, despite using tunnel washers at its powder coating plant.

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The company was prosecuted and found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and fined £10,000 with costs of £5,000.

Employers and those in control of premises, including landlords, have a duty to understand the health risks associated with legionella, and to take the correct steps to reduce the risks of exposure to the bacteria. If you are worried that legionella may be a risk at your workplace, Safety Concepts can help you assess the risk and advise you on further action.

Worker death leads to £3.8m fines for Laing O'Rourke subsidiaries

An employee of Explore Manufacturing, which prefabricates concrete components for the construction injury, was working in a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) when an 11-tonne concrete panel fell and fatally crushed him.

He had been removing lifting attachments from a panel which was stored on a transport pallet, supplied by a second subsidiary, Select Plant Hire. The panel toppled and threw him out of the MEWP. Other panels fell and one of these crushed the worker.

The HSE investigation found that the frame securing the panel had not been properly attached. Additionally the pallets were in poor condition and had not been maintained correctly.  These defects had not been detected because there was no system of pre-use checks in place. Inspectors also found that there was a lack of planning at the site.

Explore Manufacturing was fined £2m, and Select Plant Hire received a £1.8m fine.

Horrific death leads to prison sentence for directors

A Latvian agency worker was cleaning near a conveyor which fed a waste shredder at a recycling firm's Lincolnshire site. A fixed gate preventing access to the conveyor had been removed some weeks earlier. The recycling line was accidentally started up and the man was drawn into the shredder.

The man was identified by DNA from his toothbrush after fragments of his body were found in the shredding machine.

The company was fined £800,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 costs. The managing director and former operations director both pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 (Offences by Bodies Corporate) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and both were handed 20-week prison sentences, suspended for two years. The managing director was also fined £50,000.

ISO 45001 launch could be February 2018

According to a communication from the International Organisation for Standardisation, the final ISO 45001 international standard for occupational health and safety management may be published as early as February 2018.

ISO 45001 is widely understood to be replacing the already internationally-applied British Standard OHSAS 18001. A three-year transitional period is anticipated after final publication of the standard.