Assistant Editor

July 4, 2019

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MPs call for action to tackle increase in deaths at work

Concerns were expressed by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), after annual statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that fatal injuries, as a result of Working at Height, have risen since 2018.

The Group is sponsored by the Access Industry Forum (AIF), a group of 11 trade associations and federations covering Working at Height.

The HSE statistics show that a total of 147 workers were killed at work in 2018/2019, a rise of 6 fatalities from 2017/2018.

40 workers suffered a fatal injury as a result of a fall from height in 2018/2019, making this the single biggest cause of workplace fatal injuries in the UK.

In 2017/2018, 35 workers died due to a fall from height.

Commenting on behalf of the AIF, PASMA’s Managing Director, Peter Bennett OBE stated that, “whilst we welcome the UK continues to consistently have one of the lowest rates of fatal injury across the EU, the figures released today are still too high. There should be absolutely no question or doubt over workers’ ability to return home safely to their families every evening.

These statistics came after the publication of the APPG’s first report in February 2019, ‘Staying Alive: Preventing Serious Injury and Fatalities while Working at Height’. The report made several recommendations including:

  • The introduction of enhanced reporting.
  • The appointment of an independent body.
  • An equivalent system to Scotland’s Fatal Accident Inquiry process.

Chair of the APPG and MP for Glasgow Central, Alison Thewliss commented that, “these statistics show this issue is not going away. It is imperative that the Government takes forward the recommendations made in our report which have been devised with input from industry and key stakeholders”.

“We have already had a positive response from Government and the HSE” she continued, “but time is of the essence when it comes to safety in the workplace, and we need to ensure these actions are taken forward as quickly as possible”.

PASMA’s Managing Director added that, “we know that data collected does not accurately represent the true scale of ‘near misses’ in the workplace which is why we are calling for enhanced reporting methods, and an independent body who would confidentially collect data to inform industry and Government.”

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