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April 27, 2020

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Health and Safety at Work Day

Health and Safety at Work Day: ‘Let’s make workplaces fit for heroes’, says British Safety Council

The British Safety Council is marking the World Day for Safety and Health at Work with a pledge to support workers’ safety through the coronavirus outbreak and beyond. It is also honouring the memory of all workers who have died during the coronavirus outbreak on Workers’ Memorial Day – a day traditionally given to the memory of workers who have been killed or injured at work, now including many healthcare workers.

The British Safety Council has joined the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in calling for a coordinated global response to safeguard people’s jobs and incomes and to respect workers’ rights as the world tackles the pandemic. 

The British Safety Council is providing support to employers whose workers are at the frontline, including healthcare workers and essential workers in retail, manufacturing and construction. As well as providing direct support through the lockdown, it is developing new services to help organisations adapt when restrictions are eased and has published its annual impact report, setting out key campaigning and advocacy activity in 2019.

Lawrence Waterman

Chair of the British Safety Council Lawrence Waterman said: “The coronavirus pandemic has presented us with new challenges, but it does not change the fundamentals. All employers still have a duty of care to their workers – wherever they are working. As we adapt to a new working environment the same principles which keep workers safe will apply – good health and safety is about working together to reduce risk, and this is just as true in this crisis as it ever was.

“Of course, this crisis cannot be used as an excuse to lower work standards – but I actually hope as we look beyond the horizon people will see the return to normal life as a chance to honour workers. The British Safety Council will be working with our members and customers to embed real improvements in working environments.

“When we clap for our carers and when we salute people working on the buses, in the shops, keeping the electricity and water flowing and getting food to our homes we should demand safe workplaces for every single one of them. These workers are today’s heroes and their place of work should be fit for them.”

Since 1957, the British Safety Council has been championing workplace health and safety around the world. The charity played an instrumental role in the campaign for the compulsory seat belt law and comprehensive protection for all workers. It contributed to the creation of the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974 and, ahead of its time, helped to establish the British Wellness Council in 1979.

Anyone can access the British Safety Council’s free resources here.

Click here to read the British Safety Impact Report 2020.

Workplace injuries by industry and type

To mark Health and Safety at Work Day, health and safety training provider CE Safety has analysed data collected by the HSE under RIDDOR, between the financial years 2014/15 and 2018/19.

NHS - Accident Emergency DepartmentAccording to HSE statistics, the combined fields of public administration and defence, compulsory social security, education, human health and social work activities sees the highest number of non-fatal workplace injuries of all kinds, with 20,961 reported. The industry with the second highest number of injuries is manufacturing. This field sees 12,151 injuries reported.

Next up is another collection of fields – wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, accommodation and food service activities. These industries combined saw 11,852 injuries in the five years over which the data was collected.

Transportation and storage reported 9,780 cases.There is another significant drop at this point, with the construction industry seeing 4,872 injuries between 14/15 and 18/19.

          Industry Number of Injuries
  • Public administration and defence; compulsory social security; education; human health and social work;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; accommodation and food service;
  • Transportation and storage;
  • Construction;
  • Information and communication; financial and insurance; real estate; professional, scientific and technical; administrative and support services;
  • Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities;
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities;
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing;
  • Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply;
  • Mining and quarrying.

The most likely injury in any industry is one caused by a slip, trip or fall on the same level. 20,022 cases of this kind were recorded in the five years covered by the HSE’s data.
After summarising the industries in which employees are most likely to experience a workplace injury, we explored the most common types of injury across all fields.

Handling, lifting or carrying injuries are numbering 13,940. Injuries caused by an individual being struck by a moving, flying or falling object are the next most common, numbering at 7,089.

Following this are injuries caused by acts of violence towards or between employees. This saw 5,422 injuries over the reporting period.

Falls from a height are very close behind in number, with 5,296 injuries of this kind reported.

Cause of injury Number of injuries
Slips, trips or falls on same level; 20,022
Injured while handling, lifting or carrying; 13,940
Struck by moving, including flying/falling, object; 7,089
Acts of violence; 5,422
Falls from a height; 5,296
Contact with moving machinery; 2,615
Strike against something fixed or stationary; 2,451
Struck by moving vehicle; 1,640
Exposure to, or contact with, a harmful substance; 800
Injured by an animal; 648
Trapped by something collapsing/overturning; 273
Contact with electricity or electrical discharge; 211
Exposure to fire; 174
Exposure to an explosion; 56
Drowning or asphyxiation. 14


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David Knowles
David Knowles
11 months ago

My research showed that only 1 in 5 reports were made (in agriculture and associated), so we must be wary of hard and fast conclusions drawn from RIDDOR stats, except for fatalities that are close to 100% accurate.

Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
11 months ago

Can’t see the numbers for eye-strain and debilitating visual repetitive stress injuries ” asthenopia “, loss of 3D binocular vision let alone 20% deficits in accessibility suffered by 58% of DSE operators in the workplace. So, if 48% of employees DSE operatives and 58% of those experience presenteeism / RSI’s then, we are talking about; 48% of 32m and 58% predictably impaired by 3D vision loss also at risk of WRULD’s and MSD’s acoerding to HSE Better Display Screen RR 561 2007. Approx 8,908,800 probably in excess of 10m adults plus children today, adding to UK eye health burden coming… Read more »