HSE reveals alarming statistics on workplace accidents
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), within two months of 2020, has fined companies over 36 unsafe or dangerous work practices, 26 of which have resulted in serious injury and some deaths. HSE inspectors say that many of these accidents could have been easily prevented.
During the 2018/2019 period, 581,000 workers suffered from recorded work-related injuries. The HSE believes the true figure could be higher, as many accidents are unreported.
Although the figures for work-related injuries are high, they have been falling over the last few years. Mental health issues have been rising, and these are mainly self-reported, so could reflect more willingness for workers to talk about mental health issues.
The GMB union is particularly concerned about the work environment at Amazon fulfilment centres. From their Freedom of Information requests, the union calculates that 600 or more “near misses” or serious injuries occurred over three years. The GMB wants a parliamentary enquiry into the online retail giant’s work practices.
Amazon is a high-profile company which gets close media scrutiny on their work practices. The company says that its accident record is comparable with other warehouses, which raises the question of whether greater attention needs to be paid to workplace safety, right from small and medium-sized businesses up to multinational corporations.
Though there have been developments in PPE (personal protection equipment) technology to better protect workers, early 2020 statistics suggest that more needs to be done to increase health and safety awareness.