Employers in the South West “must do more” to cut the number of accidents in the workplace, as its revealed the region has one of the worst records in the country, according to Coodes Solicitors.
On World Day for Safety and Health at Work (Friday 28 April 2023) statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that, on average, 66,000 workers in the South West suffer a non-fatal workplace injury every year, which is 33% higher than the national figure.
Lawyers at Cornwall and Devon-based Coodes say that for every 100,000 workers in the region, more than 2,300 people are injured and 18 workers were fatally injured in the South West in 2021/22.
As part of World Day for Safety and Health at Work, Coodes’ personal injury team has teamed up with Newquay-based Osprey Health and Safety to raise awareness of the issue and encourage employers to take immediate action to improve their health and safety measures.
They are calling on employers to review their training and risk assessments, safety procedures, personal protective equipment and ensure there is more comprehensive recording of accidents in the workplace.
This year the International Labour Organisation marks its 20th anniversary of World Day for Safety and Health at Work – a campaign promoting safe, healthy, and decent work supported by governments and organisations, including here in the UK.
Every year, in the South West, 523,000 days are lost because a worker suffers an accident and must take time off, away from the business. Injuries affecting muscles and skeleton including bones, joints, tendons and muscles and the back account for the highest number of reported accidents in the region.
Industries that have higher rates of workplace accidents include construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation involving heavy machinery or equipment, working at heights, and being exposed to hazardous materials and chemicals.
Demelza Pallant, personal injury solicitor at Coodes, said: “The figures are incredibly sobering, they should be a real wake-up call to both employers and employees working across all industries in the region. One workplace injury is one too many and clearly there is much more that can be done to bring this number down further. Employers should take a really proactive approach to health and safety, but everyone has a role to play. Only then will this alarming picture be improved.”
According to latest estimates, in the South West there are 189,000 workers suffering from an illness which has been caused or made worse by their work. The data also shows that the rate of work-related illness in the South West is 25% higher than the national average.
Paul Venter, director at Osprey Health and Safety, said: “It’s the responsibility of employers to take steps to minimise the risk of accidents and ensure the safety of their workers. Health and safety is about looking after your staff, caring about their health and wellbeing. It’s not something to attain a desired accreditation, or just because they have a legal obligation to do so. Employers should take these steps because they genuinely care. Businesses that choose one priority over the other are setting themselves up to fail. Prevention is better than cure.”
Demelza Pallant, added: “Whenever someone has an accident, the impact is huge. Accidents are not just statistics – they are real people – affecting the person injured, friends and families, employer, and colleagues. Family members may rely on the injured person for support or financial stability, and the employer may face legal and financial consequences.
“They suddenly find themselves being deprived of so much – their social life, they may not be able to return to work in the same way or go about their life as they did before, so getting support for their future is the number one priority. Accidents benefit no one – everyone loses out. Everyone has a role to play, everyone should be working together to effect change – sometimes the simple, small things can make a big difference.”
Employers wanting more information about their health and safety obligations can visit www.ospreyhealthandsafety.com. For help and advice on personal injury issues, visit www.coodes.co.uk/services/personal-injury-solicitors-lawyers