Work accidents still high in region

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NORTH East workplaces are getting safer but the region still lags behind the rest of the UK, according to new statistics.

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Health and Safety at work Act, which marked a major step forward in the protection of workers and paved the way for the creation of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The number of employees killed at work each year having dropped by 85 per cent over the past four decades. In 1974, 650 died annually in the workplace. Today the figure is 133.

The number of injuries at work has also reduced by 77 per cent over the same time period, from 336,701 to 78,222.

The latest statistics for the year 2012/13 show the number of reported accidents in North East workplaces fell by 28 per cent year-on-year.

But the rate of injuries – 346.5 per 100,000 employees – was higher than the national average of 312. Minister of State for Health and Safety Mark Harper said: “Britain has come an incredibly long way over the past forty years in protecting its workforce.

“Our workplace safety record is now the envy of the world, with businesses and governments queuing up to tap into our expertise.

“Any death at work is a death too many. But few can dispute that the reduction in fatalities and injuries over the past 40 years is a significant step forward.”