Increase in work deaths rattles HSE

From April to September 2006, 124 work-related deaths were recorded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Britain, a 17 per cent increase on last year's fatalities if the trend continues over a full 12 months.

Preliminary figures for deaths within the construction industry have revealed a 32 per cent increase in lethal accidents since last year, bringing the estimated total to 78.

The worrying statistics have sparked calls from unions for more safety representatives in the workplace and harsher penalties for employers who fail to protect employees' health.

Commenting on the new figures, GMB construction national secretary Phil Davies said: "Employers have to be made to be responsible and someone should end up in jail where corners are cut. More must be done to include safety representatives in proper consultation to stop people being killed at work and to improve health, safety and welfare across all UK building sites."

John McClean, GMB national health and safety officer, added: "The HSE need to redouble their efforts in monitoring all building projects. Now is not the time to propose further cuts to the HSE inspectorate."

If the British trend towards poorer health and safety measures at work is reflected in Northern Ireland's own statistics when they are released, solicitors can expect to see more cases of industrial negligence and more injury claims.

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