The estimated cost of accidents and ill health to the North West economy last year was a massive £1.4 billion – and David Ashton, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s North West Regional Director wants both employers and their staff to make a New Year’s Resolution to cut that figure.
He says: “We are not interested in the frivolous health and safety issues like banning people playing conkers, but want them to take practical action to deal with real risks and serious health and safety issues that can cost the area so much and lead to great personal suffering. We want to concentrate on managing risks that cause real harm, not bureaucratic back-covering.”
Country by county statistics for 2006/7 for the local authorities within the North West showing estimated cost and working days lost, and actual injuries reported to HSE respectively follow at the end of the press notice.
David Ashton continues: “The cost and the statistics show the importance of relevant health and safety measures. The costs and loss of important staff can be crucial for smaller firms.
“Yet it seems I repeat myself in saying that year after year the same underlying trends appear in our accidents statistics – and the tragedy is that deaths and injuries such as these could be avoided. If we could eliminate just two of the causes - falling from a height and being struck by moving or falling objects – more than half of the people killed would still be alive today.
“HSE inspectors repeatedly visit the scenes of the accidents and realise that in many cases they could easily have been prevented. I call on all businesses to act now to help stop this toll.
“It is not a matter simply for HSE to prevent. There are plenty of practical precautions including:
"Operators and people using access equipment should be trained. Simple assessments of risk, asking everyday questions like ‘How will we clean out the gutters?’; ‘Can people get up to reach the tops of our lorry loads in a safe manner?’; "Do we avoid exposing our workers to dangerous chemicals or dust?’; Do we follow the good advice of our suppliers?" and ‘Have we trained everyone suitably?’ could prevent so much heartbreak.
HSE works with a number of partners to provide free advice and education to those both carrying out and managing work and we need businesses and self employed people to work with us to help arrest this increase and make the North West a safer place to work.
Neither HSE nor employers can rest on their laurels when it comes to workplace safety. There is a great deal of work to be done in 2008 and beyond.”
The costs within the North West region are:
Download the full details and breakdown within each region as pdf file here