Did you know that 30.4 million working days were lost in 2016 due to work-related illness and injuries? The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released its figures on health and safety at work in the UK during 2016, here is what you need to know.
Health and safety statistics
- 4 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury (2015/16)
- 3 million working people suffering from a work-related illness (2014/15)
- 144 workers killed at work (2015/16)
- 72,702 other injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR (2015/16)
- 6 million non-fatal injuries to workers (2015/16)
- 2,515 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2014)
- 13,000 deaths each year estimated to be linked to past exposures at work, primarily to chemicals or dust
- 14,000 estimated new cases of breathing or lung problems annually, according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey
Minimising health risks
Good health risk management means identifying the hazards and then eliminating, managing or controlling exposure. Our team of occupational hygienists and environmental scientists has put together some tips on preventing ill health caused by the work environment.
- Assess exposure to hazardous substances – workers can be exposed to many hazardous substances in their day-to-day activities, including particulates, lead, solvents, isocyanates, combustion gases and harmful micro-organisms. It is essential to assess, monitor and control the risks of employees’ exposure to all chemical and biological hazards in the workplace
- Manage asbestos risk – despite being banned in construction since 1999, asbestos can still be found in many properties built or refurbished before the year 2000. Before undertaking any work on a building which might contain asbestos, it is vital to first identify whether asbestos is present and determine its type and condition. An asbestos risk assessment should then be carried out before deciding if work is necessary and if it needs to be carried out by a licensed contractor. For more advice on managing asbestos risk, read our frequently asked questions here
- Keep your water systems safe - do you know who is responsible for managing the hot and cold water systems in your building? Legionella bacteria multiply at temperatures between 20°C and 45°C. It is essential to have an up-to-date legionella legionella risk assessment suitable for the building in question in addition to a management plan and an appropriate control regime in place
- Reduce exposure to harmful levels of vibration – The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations specifies exposure action values (EAVs) and exposure limit values (ELVs) and requires employers to assess the vibration risk to employees, provide information and training to those exposed, implement measures to reduce exposure and provide health surveillance when action levels are reached in order to ensure exposure is below the ELV
- Control noise levels - frequent exposure to high levels of noise can cause lasting hearing problems. The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 requires employers to prevent or reduce the risks of exposure to noise at work. Identify who is at risk and assess the noise levels before putting appropriate controls in place. Regular monitoring should be undertaken and reviews of the effectiveness of current control methods should be carried out
Protecting the health of employees
ESG’s highly experienced experts offer individually designed solutions and a flexible approach to help protect the health of employees in the workplace. Get in touch with our team for more information or advice.