The headline in today’s IOSH magazine stated “US workplace deaths plateau”. The accompanying article went on to outline the findings of the 2017 edition of Death on the Job: the toll of neglect. This report showed that in the US, 4,836 people died at work in 2015, a rate of 3.4 per 100,000 workers. The Construction sector fared even worse with 937 fatalities in 2015 at a rate of 10.1 per 100,000 workers.
For the same period in the UK, HSE statistics reveal an annual fatality rate in the construction industry of 1.94 per 100,00 workers and across all sectors as 0.46 per 100,000.
But before we start patting ourselves on the back, we should remember that this still means that 142 people died whilst at work as a result of an avoidable injury.
The reason for writing this, however, is to remind us all of the benefits we derive from having a well-regulated workplace, where employers are duty-bound to consider risks and implement sensible control measures.
“Elf and safety” scare stories in some areas of the media are nothing to do with this regulation but are generated as a result of a de-regulated civil claims industry.
In the US there are already moves afoot to weaken the protections offered to workers and with a general election next month I would encourage all of you to ask the candidates in your area how they intend to ensure that the UK continues to improve upon our health and safety record in the future.
Chris Ivey, Health and Safety Director