Call to prioritise workplace safety

THE Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a fresh warning after one Borderer died and 48 were seriously injured in workplace incidents last year.

The HSE is urging employers to make the safety of workers their top priority in 2012.

The watchdog is also reminding businesses of their legal responsibility to ensure lives are not put at risk, as the number of deaths rose across Britain in 2010-11.

The sole Borders work-related death last year was David Barker, 48. the Selkirk man who was killed while working at the Scottish Borders Abattoir in Galashiels in January.

Dr Paul Stollard, HSE director in Scotland, said: “The family of the worker in the Borders who lost his life last year had to face Christmas without him.

“Hundreds of other workers have had their lives changed forever by a major injury.

“These statistics highlight why we need good health and safety in British workplaces.

“Employers should spend their time tackling the real dangers that workers face rather than worrying about trivial risks or pointless paperwork.

“It’s important to remember that we still have one of the lowest rates of workplace deaths in Europe, but one death is still one too many. I’d urge businesses to help cut the number of deaths in 2012.”

Although the number of major injuries fell from 65 in 2009-10 to 48 in 2010/11, the number of employees who suffered a three-day injury rose from 128 to 144.

The HSE also names 58-year-old Keith Richardson of Hawick as one of 11 people in Britain to die of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in 2010/11.

A total of 171 people were killed at work in Britain last year, compared with 147 deaths during 2009-10. More than 24,700 workers suffered a major injury.

On average, six in every million workers were killed while at work between April 2010 and March 2011. High-risk industries include construction, which had 50 deaths last year, agriculture with 34, and waste and recycling with nine, making up more than half of all workplace fatalities during 2010/11.