Workplace injuries decreasing thanks to health and safety management

SQMC’s expert Jennie Clark looks at the downward trend towards fewer workplace injuries and how health and safety management in the workplace has helped.

In recent years, there has been a noticeable trend across the UK towards lower numbers of workplace injuries, according to the Health and Safety Executive.1

For example, the number of major injuries to employees in the UK fell from 27,894 in 2008/2009 to 19,707 in 2012/2013 and fatal injuries to workers has fallen from 179 in 2008/2009 to 148 in 2012/2013.

Our Health and Safety expert Jennie Clark attributes these improved stats to increased awareness of the need to manage health and safety in the workplace to drive out risk and mitigate incidents.

She points out that a top down, more inclusive approach to health and safety and creating a safer working environment can, for example, be seen in the construction industry, where the number of accidents over the past five years has been significantly driven down.

OHSAS 18001, the business standard for Occupational Health and Safety, has seen a major uptake in the number of organisations seeking to achieve accreditation over the past several years, as it provides a strong framework and set of requirements that can be adhered to for occupational health and safety.

OHSAS 18001 is also increasingly required in the tendering processes for various industries and clearly demonstrates an organisation’s compliance with health and safety standards to its customers.

The OHSAS 18001standard is underpinned by the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle that can be used very effectively in safety management. When coupled with other tools such as Root Cause Analysis, it can help businesses identify and drive out poor health and safety practices. 

Failures to mitigate health and safety dangers can result in hefty fines and even prison sentences.

For example, in February 2014 alone a demolition firm was fined £40,000 for safety failings after a worker was seriously injured by falling cast iron guttering, a manufacturer was fined £100,000 following the death of a worker, and the owner of an alloy firm was sentenced to six months imprisonment and fined for failing to protect workers from the risks of lead poisoning.

1All statistics were taken from the Health and Safety Executive’s website.

Upcoming courses featuring OHSAS 18001 delivered by SQMC include:

  • OHSAS 18001 Internal Auditor (2 Days) – 22nd April, Dunfermline
  • Internal IMS Auditor – ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 (3 Days) – 23rd April, Dunfermline