North West employers asked to make New Year safety resolution

Employers across the North West of England are being urged to ensure their workers are kept safe in 2010, and improve on 2009 safety figures.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), last year more than 300 work-related incidents occurred across the North West each week - amounting to a total of 16,385 people killed or injured during 2009.

Statistics for last year show 22 people were killed at work across the region, 3,391 sustained major injuries and a further 12,972 suffered injuries requiring more than three days absence. The figures compare with 22 fatalities, 3,514 major injuries and 13,993 cases of injuries requiring more than three days absence in 2007/08.

Including other absences due to ill health caused by work activities, this equates to an estimated 3.5 million working days lost at a massive cost to the economy and individual businesses, which is why HSE says it makes perfect sense to make working environments safe.

Last year, HSE prosecuted North West firms for 100 breaches of health and safety legislation, and took action against hundreds more by issuing Prohibition and Improvement Notices.

David Sowerby, HSE's Regional Director for the North West, said:

"Behind these statistics are the real life stories of thousands of workers suffering injuries and ill health. Together with their families, they have to deal with real hardship, pain and suffering.

The New Year is an opportune time to reflect on the number of incidents in the past 12 months, and to take positive action to improve conditions in workplaces.

The main causes of fatal incidents nationally remain falls from height and from workplace transport, with the highest numbers being found in the construction and agriculture sectors. For other injuries, slips and trips and incidents affecting the back and upper limbs are the most common cause.

Most of these injuries are entirely preventable. We implore businesses to take practical action to manage the risks people face in their day-to-day work."

Britain boasts one of the best health and safety records in Europe but with 180 workplace deaths nationally last year, HSE says there is still much to be done.

The statistics also show that in Greater Manchester alone, there were 4,980 recorded incidents that led to workers being off work for three or more days.

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