Factories used to be ‘killing fields’

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I was asked the other day what I thought would happen if the UK didn’t have the Health and Safety laws that many people – and certain parts of the media – seem to think stifles businesses and prevents the ordinary hard-working man from making a living.

My answer is that I believe that workplaces such as building sites or factories would revert to the killing fields they were in the 1950s and 60s.

You may think that is a bold statement but look at the figures.

When the Health and Safety as we know it started in 1974, 651 people were killed at work.

Now compare that to 2013/14 – that number had come down to 113.

It’s a similar story with non-fatal injuries.

In 1974 the figure was a staggering 33,6701 reported injuries, how many more were not reported is unknown.

By 2011/12 this had come down to ‘only’ 77,310.

Now, those 77,310 injuries range from a broken ankle requiring a few weeks off, to a life-changing incident that has left someone in a wheelchair.

But the figure has certainly come down since 1974.

So to all those who say ‘elf and safety’ is just common sense, and is just a waste of time, think on these figures and ask yourselves how much safer your workplace is now than 40 years ago.

Clearwater Safety Solutions provide professional but realistic health and safety advice to SMEs across Sussex, Surrey, and Hampshire through south London and into Essex and Kent.

The firm is based at 49 Station Road, Polegate.

Call 0333 4567650 for more information or email info@clearwater-safety.co.uk or see www.clearwater-safety.co.uk