THE number of people who were injured at work in the Borders has risen in the last year, writes Kenny Paterson.
A total of 153 people suffered injuries which resulted in them missing work for three days or more in 2011/12, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
That is up from 146 in 2010/11, but the number of major injuries fell from 48 to 46.
The figure bucks a national trend which has seen three-day injuries fall from 7,667 to 7,447.
There was only one death in the region during the period covered by the statistics – Greenlaw’s Brian Newton died in a fire at the Wicken Fen factory in Duns in June 2011.
The HSE figures revealed there were 20 deaths at Scottish workplaces – an increase of six on the previous year – while the number of major injuries also fell from 2,660 to 2,240.
The HSE has now asked businesses to rethink safety provisions in the New Year after the number of deaths in Great Britain as a whole failed to show a significant fall in 2011/12.
A total of 173 workers were killed at work in Great Britain last year, compared to 175 worker deaths during 2010/11. More than 23,000 workers also suffered a major injury.
The latest figures show that nationwide, on average, six in every million workers were killed while at work between April 2011 and March 2012.
High-risk industries include construction, which had 49 deaths last year, agriculture with 33 deaths, manufacturing with 31 deaths and waste and recycling with five deaths – making up more than half of all workplace deaths in Great Britain during 2011/12.
David Snowball, HSE director for Scotland and Northern England, said: “Each year, instead of enjoying the occasion, families of workers in Scotland who failed to come home from work spend Christmas and the New Year thinking of the loved ones who are not there to enjoy it with them.
“Hundreds of other workers who have had their lives changed by major injury will be experiencing difficulties of their own.
“Health and safety in the workplace needs to be taken seriously.
“I hope that in 2013 employers will tackle the real rather than the trivial dangers that workers face and not mire themselves in pointless paperwork, so we can reduce the number of workplace deaths and major injury.”
Information on tackling health and safety dangers in workplaces is available on HSE’s website at www.hse.gov.uk