Health and Safety Risks to Prepare for in 2020
The HSE recently released its annual Workplace Health and Safety Summary Statistics for Great Britain, detailing key data from the past year regarding work-related ill health and injury. At a glance, many of the injuries and fatalities that occurred this past year could have been prevented through the implementation of simple safety precautions.
As the New Year begins, it’s crucial now more than ever for your organisation to analyse the effectiveness of current health and safety practices on-site. While you read through these statistics from the HSE’s annual report, be sure to identify focus areas for your organisation and consider what you can do to improve workplace health and safety measures in 2020.
- Employee deaths—A total of 147 workers were killed on-site in 2018-19, up from 144 in the previous year. The top causes of fatal accidents were falls from height, being struck by a moving vehicle or object and contact with moving machinery.
- Work-related injuries—Over half a million employees experienced non-fatal injuries at work this past year, resulting in 4.7 million working days lost and generating an overall price tag of £5.2 billion. The biggest contributors to work-related injuries were slips, trips or falls on the same level; handling, lifting or carrying tasks; and being struck by a moving object.
- Work-related ill health—Nearly 1.4 million employees suffered from work-related ill health conditions in 2018-19, leading to 23.5 million working days lost and total costs of £9.8 billion. Stress, depression and anxiety were the top causes of ill health, contributing to over 40% of overall cases.
- Prosecution costs— Organisations paid £54.5 million in total fines resulting from prosecutions (or referrals to COPFS in Scotland) where a conviction took place this year. The average fine per conviction was £150,000, with the single-largest fine of the year being a startling £3 million.
Director Sentenced Following Employee Exposure to Hazardous Substances
A company director was sentenced after exposing his employees to harmful substances on-site, thus putting them at risk of developing occupational lung disease.
Because he failed to implement adequate workplace controls, the director was continually exposing his employees to hazardous substances such as isocyanates and solvents—which can cause asthma, dizziness, liver and kidney damage. Further, he had been hiding these unsafe practices from HSE inspectors. As a result, the director was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months with 20 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £5,428.21.