Reported suffering stress, depression or anxiety related to work 2009/10
Death, Injury and Ill-health caused by work: 2009/10
According to the Health and Safety Executive’s Statistics 2009/2010, they recorded in that year:
Around1.3 million people suffered from work related ill-health: around 555,000 of these were new conditions which started during the year, of these:
572,000 workers reported suffering work related musculoskeletal disorders
435,000 workers reported suffering stress, depression or anxiety related to work
152 workers were killed at work
233,000 reportable injuries occurred
Around 8,000 workers died from work related cancers: about 50% of these were due to previous exposure to asbestos fibres
Around 4,000 people died from work related Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Working Days Lost
23.4 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health and 5.1 million due to workplace injury: 28.5 million in total for 2009/10.
By law employers are required to consult with their workers over a large range of defined health and safety issues. Surveys by the Health and Safety Executive indicate that 60% of employers do not adequately consult their workers. It is illegal not to consult employees over health and safety issues.
In unionised workplaces, employers must consult with trade union appointed Safety Representatives. This is required through the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations 1977, as amended.
In non-union organisations the employer must either consult with employers directly or through ‘Representatives of Employee Safety’, who must be elected by the employees. This is required through the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996.
In sectors such as offshore installations, quarries, mines, construction and railways there are other consultation requirements.
The huge explosion at Buncefield in 2005 was caused by ‘fundamental safety management failings’. This was the conclusion of a final report published by the Health and Safety Executive - Buncefield: Why did it happen?: The underlying causes of the explosion and fire at the Buncefield oil storage depot, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire on 11 December 2005.
As quoted in the Report:
‘Failures of design and maintenance in both overfill protection systems and liquid containment systems were the technical causes of the initial explosion and the seepage of pollutants to the environment in its aftermath. However, underlying these immediate failings lay root causes based in broader management failings:
- Management systems in place at HOSL relating to tank filling were both deficient and not properly followed, despite the fact that the systems were independently audited.
- Pressures on staff had been increasing before the incident. The site was fed by three pipelines, two of which control room staff had little control over in terms of flow rates and timing of receipt. This meant that staff did not have sufficient information easily available to them to manage precisely the storage of incoming fuel.
- Throughput had increased at the site. This put more pressure on site management and staff and further degraded their ability to monitor the receipt and storage of fuel. The pressure on staff was made worse by a lack of engineering support from Head Office.
Cumulatively, these pressures created a culture where keeping the process operating was the primary focus and process safety did not get the attention, resources or priority that it required.’
The HSE estimate that around 80% of all workplace accidents can be ‘attributed’ to a failure in managerial control. Buncefield offers another example.