Comment: Ripple effect05 August 2019

Provisional annual data released by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) recently has revealed that 147 workers were fatally injured between April 2018 and March 2019 – an increase of six workplace fatalities from 2017/18.

Unsurprisingly, the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector has taken top spot for the largest share of fatal injuries to workers (32), closely followed by the construction sector (30) and the manufacturing sector (26).

Furthermore, the three most common causes of fatal injuries continues to be workers falling from height, being struck by a moving vehicle, and being struck by a moving object, accounting for nearly 60% of fatal injuries in 2018/19. HSE chair Martin Temple is quoted as saying these statistics are “unacceptable” and “more must be done to prevent such fatalities taking place”. He isn’t wrong.

I said it last month and I say it again – nobody should ever go to work and not come home in one piece. When someone loses their life, more people than you can think of are affected. Family, friends, colleagues, associates… the number of individuals that are impacted by such a tragedy just goes on, similar to the ripple effect caused by a stone bring dropped into water.

Employees, apprentices, contractors, senior management – you all have people out there that adore you, so take care when going about your work. A job can be restarted, redone or rescheduled, but the loss of life can’t be undone, nor the pain experienced by others.

Indeed, as Temple concluded: “Whatever the sector, we should remember that any change in numbers provides little comfort to the family, friends and colleagues of the 147 whose lives were cut short this year while doing their job.”

Adam Offord

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