Impressive figures as Health & Safety Act turns 40

2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and workplace equipment supplier Slingsby says new figures revealing the UK is now one of the safest countries to work in the world must be applauded, but warns there is still work to do because thousands of unnecessary accidents still occur every year.

The figures, released by The Health & Safety Executive (HSE), show that in 1974 more than 650 people lost their lives every year at work, compared to a record low of 133 today. The numbers of injuries occurring at work have also fallen significantly from 336,701, 40 years ago, to 78,222 now. Slingsby supplies more than 35,000 workplace products, including a vast range of health and safety related equipment, which helps organisations across all sectors comply with related legislation.

Slingsby’s Marketing Director, Lee Wright, explains: “When the Health and Safety at Work Act was introduced, it laid the foundations for the HSE to be established, and both have completely transformed how all workplaces operate across every industry. Health and safety is now a key consideration for all employees and as a result, Britain enjoys one of the best safety records in the world.

“40 years is a relatively short space of time to achieve such impressive results and completely change the mindset of so many employers, businesses and organisations and encourage them to manage risk in a proportionate and practical way. However there’s still a lot more that can be done. The HSE is now bringing more cases to court than ever before and more stringent punishments, including fines and prison sentences, are being dished out to those that ignore the law and the wellbeing of their employees and visitors but there are still tens of thousands of workplace accidents occurring every year.”

Lee continues: “The majority of work related accidents are avoidable and often involve the same hazards time and time again such as workplace transport, falls from height, manual handling, health risks from hazardous materials, workplace stress, as well as slips trips and falls. In our experience, in most cases workers can be protected from these hazards by introducing simple safety measures, investing in some basic equipment and carrying out regular risk assessments and we would urge employers not to lose sight of this.”

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