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July 2, 2014

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Fatal injuries in Britain falls to record low

The number of workers killed in Britain last year has fallen to a record low, the Health and Safety Executive has revealed.
Provisional data from HSE shows 133 workers were fatally injured between April 2013 and March 2014, compared to 150 in the previous year. However, the number of deaths from mesothelioma has risen, from 2,291 in 2011 to 2,535 in 2012.
The construction sector had the highest rate of fatal injuries to workers with 42 recorded deaths, although this is still lower than the average of 46 for the previous five years. 
There were 27 fatal injuries in agriculture, lower than the average of 33, and the waste and recycling sector saw the least number of fatal injuries at four, lower than the average of seven over the last five years.
England had the highest number of fatal injuries recorded, at 106, compared to an average of 134 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the 119 deaths recorded in 2012/13.
Scotland’s fatal injuries came in at 20, compared to an average of 21 in the past five years and a decrease from 23 recorded in 2012/13.
Wales had seven fatal injuries recorded, compared to an average of 10 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the eight deaths recorded in 2012/13.
Judith Hackitt, HSE chair said: “The release of the annual statistics always leads to mixed emotions. Sadness for the loss of 133 lives, and sympathy for their families, friends and workmates, but also a sense of encouragement that we continue to make progress in reducing the toll of suffering.
“While these are only provisional figures, they confirm Britain’s performance in health and safety as world class. For the last eight years we have consistently recorded one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers among the leading industrial nations in Europe.”
Commenting on the mesothelioma statistics, Hackitt said they were “a reminder of historically poor standards of workplace health and safety, which decades later are causing thousands of painful, untimely deaths each year”.
She added that the statistics were a reminder of the importance of keeping health standards in the workplace on a par with safety.
Mike Penning, minister of state for health and safety, said: “Any death at work is a death too many. But these statistics show that workplaces are getting safer.
“The HSE do an excellent job in making sure each and every one of us can go out to do any honest day’s work in the knowledge that our safety is being taken seriously.”
These figures will be finalised in July 2015 following any necessary adjustments arising from investigations, in which new facts can emerge about whether the accident was work-related.
Further data will be released in October on the numbers of serious injuries and estimates of the numbers of premature deaths caused by harmful exposures in the workplace. 

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