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Watchdog marks 40th anniversary with safety appeal to businesses

Personal injury compensation claimsThe Health and Safety Executive is calling for Scottish businesses and self-employed workers to make well-being and safety their top priority in the new financial year.

As the HSE marks its 40th anniversary, new figures have revealed 20 people lost their lives while at work across Scotland in 2013/14 and 6,871 suffered injury – compared to 23 deaths and 7,156 injuries in the country the previous year.

During 2013/14, some 81,000 people across Scotland were estimated to have been made ill through their work over the same period.

Across the UK, there were 133 deaths at work in 2013/14, more than 79,500 injuries were formally reported and more than 1.1 million people are estimated to have been made ill.

That is a huge reduction from when HSE was formally established in January 1975 when a total of 651 employees alone were killed, excluding self-employed workers whose deaths were not recorded in the same way.

Although the stark decline is welcome, local employers are being urged to review whether they can do more to protect their workforce.

Areas of particular concern include falls from height; work on machinery that is poorly maintained and guarded; and failing to properly manage workplace transport.

Alistair McNab, HSE Head of Operations for Scotland said: “The families of the workers in Scotland who sadly lost their lives last year have just had to spend the festive period without their loved ones, while hundreds of other workers were made ill through their work or had their lives changed forever by a major injury.

“The figures offer encouragement that we are continuing to head in the right direction, but they also show that we can still go further and challenge the industries where there is room to do more.”

HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt, added: “HSE has helped Britain become one of the safest places to work in the world.

“But we must also recognise that there is still a big challenge to prevent the suffering which does still occur.

“For the last eight years we have consistently recorded one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers among the leading industrial nations in Europe.

“However, in HSE’s 40th year it is right that we acknowledge the progress we’ve made and look to a future of striving to bring down these statistics even further.”

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